Graphene reinforced nickel (Ni) is an intriguing nanocomposite with tremendous potential for microelectromechanical system (MEMS) applications by remedying mechanical drawbacks of the metal matrix for device optimization, though very few related works have been reported. In this paper, we developed a pulse-reverse electrodeposition method for synthesizing graphene-Ni (G-Ni) composite microcomponents with high content and homogeneously dispersed graphene filler. While the Vickers hardness is largely enhanced by 2.7-fold after adding graphene, the Young's modulus of composite under dynamic condition shows ∼1.4-fold increase based on the raised resonant frequency of a composite microcantilever array. For the first time, we also demonstrate the application of G-Ni composite in microsystems by fabricating a Si micromirror with the composite supporting beams as well as investigate the long-term stability of the mirror at resonant vibration. Compared with the pure Ni counterpart, the composite mirror shows an apparently lessened fluctuations of resonant frequency and scanning angle due to a suppressed plastic deformation even under the sustaining periodic loading. This can be ascribed to the reduced grain size of Ni matrix and dislocation hindering in the presence of graphene by taking into account the crystalline refinement strengthen mechanism. The rational discussions also imply that the strong interface and efficient load transfer between graphene layers and metal matrix play an important role for improving stiffness in composite. It is believed that a proper design of graphene-metal composite makes it a promising structural material candidate for advanced micromechanical devices.
ASJC Scopus subject areas