Graphene nanosheets have recently received a revival of interest as a new class of ultrathin, high-flux, and energy-efficient sieving membranes because of their unique two-dimensional and atomically thin structure, good flexibility, and outstanding mechanical properties. However, for practical applications of graphene for advanced water purification and desalination technologies, the creation of well controlled, high-density, and subnanometer diameter pores becomes a key factor. Here, we conduct reactive force-field molecular dynamics simulations to study the effect of external strain on nanopore creation in the suspended graphene by bombardment with Si clusters. Depending on the size and energy of the clusters, different kinds of topography were observed in the graphene sheet. In all the considered conditions, tensile strain results in the creation of nanopores with regular shape and smooth edges. On the contrary, compressive strain increases the elastic response of graphene to irradiation that leads to the formation of net-like defective structures with predominantly carbon atom chains. Our findings show the possibility of creating controlled nanopores in strained graphene by bombardment with Si clusters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)