Gilding with Graphene: Rapid Chemical Vapor Deposition Synthesis of Graphene on Thin Metal Leaves

Kaihao Zhang, Charalampos Androulidakis, Mingze Chen, Sameh Tawfick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gilding is the ancient process of coating intricate artifacts with precious metals. Fascinating Egyptian and Chinese sculptures, coated with <200 nm thin metal films by this process, have resisted corrosion, wear, and other environmental degradations for thousands of years. Here, 150 nm thin palladium leaves are enriched by doped with a single layer of graphene. Commercially available Pd leaves are uniquely suited for graphene synthesis by a highly dynamic chemical vapor deposition process. The Pd leaves made by high strain rate beating are stable at high synthesis temperature, resisting solid-state dewetting owing to their extremely low grain triple junctions density (0.017 µm−1). Mathematical models of growth kinetics guide the development of extremely rapid synthesis conditions, resulting in the formation of high-quality graphene on Pd in less than a minute, owing to the graphene grains growing twice as fast as copper-catalyzed growth. The graphene monolayer on the leaf increases the effective surface modulus by 59% to 236 GPa. Uniaxial strain testing with Raman spectroscopy reveals the excellent crystallinity of graphene by probing the stress-induced phonon shifts. This new material could open exciting opportunities in utilizing high-quality 2D materials to coat large structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1804068
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 28 2018


  • coating
  • composites
  • segregation
  • thin films
  • wear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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