Electric Field Effects in Flash Joule Heating Synthesis

27 February 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Flash Joule heating has emerged as an ultrafast, scalable, and versatile synthesis method for nanomaterials such as graphene. Here, we experimentally and theoretically deconvolute the contributions of thermal and electrical processes to the synthesis of graphene by flash Joule heating. While traditional methods of graphene synthesis involve purely chemical or thermal driving forces, our results show that the presence of charge and the resulting electric field in a graphene precursor catalyzes the formation of graphene. Furthermore, modulation of the current or the pulse width affords the ability to control the three-step phase transition of the material from amorphous carbon to turbostratic graphene, and finally to ordered (AB and ABC-stacked) graphene and graphite. Finally, density functional theory simulations reveal that the presence of charge- and current-induced electric field inside the graphene precursor facilitates phase transition by lowering the activation energy of the reaction. These results demonstrate that the passage of electrical current through a solid sample can directly drive nanocrystal nucleation in flash Joule heating, an insight that may inform future Joule heating or other electrical synthesis strategies.


flash graphene
phase transition
flash Joule heating
electric field
molecular dynamics

Supplementary materials

Electric Field Effects in Flash Joule Heating Synthesis--Supporting Information
Additional spectra, graphs, images, and data


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