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Defects in Graphene

This page shows visualizations of graphene structures of high defect and low defect concentrations. These structures were created by Mr. Maverick Echivarre under the advising of Dr. James R. Morris in the Materials Science and Technology Division at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Graphene is a two-dimensional sheet of ordered-carbon. When stacked on top of each other, sheets of graphene form graphite. Each carbon in a sheet of graphene has sp2 bond hybridization, meaning that it should have three neighboring carbon atoms. This leads to six-membered carbon rings as seen below. In the low energy (red to orange) regions of the sheets, all of the carbons are part of six-membered rings. In the high energy (green to blue) regions, close examination shows five- and seven-membered rings, which are defects in the graphene. The string-like pattern of high energy in the graphene clearly indicates that defects are not distributed uniformly through-out the graphene. Rather the placement of defects is highly correlated.

Interactive Structures

Graphene sheet with a high defect concentration.

To zoom in: hold down shift and the left mouse button and drag.

To translate across surface: hold down control and the right mouse button and drag.

Graphene sheet with a low defect concentration.

Color Legend:

All atoms are carbon and are colored from red to blue to indicate low to high energy.


Guo, J., Morris, J. R., Ihm, Y., Contescu, C. I., Gallego, N. C., Duscher, G., Pennycook, S. J. and Chisholm, M. F. (2012), Topological Defects: Origin of Nanopores and Enhanced Adsorption Performance in Nanoporous Carbon. Small, 8: 3283-3288. doi: 10.1002/smll.201200894

posted: July 2014.
updated: July 2014.