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Ultrathin robust plate nanomaterials


The mechanical properties of most materials deteriorate with a decrease in density. Thin materials typically used at the nanoscale become brittle, are prone to curling, or prone to cracking. 


The present invention describes a novel nano-honeycomb material that is highly robust, strong, lightweight, and flexible. The material is patterned to create honeycomb networks, which are known to be very strong and flexible. The strength and stiffness of the honeycomb structure allows a large area of material to be fabricated without warping or fracturing.

The very low density and flexibility of the structure is also notable, as most comparable low-density materials such as aerogels are very brittle and break easily. This new material could be used like honeycomb sandwich panels that provide structural strength with low weight in the aerospace and automotive industries.

Technology Overview:

The nano-honeycomb shells have been fabricated from ceramic materials via atomic layer deposition. The thickness can vary between 20 and 70 nm, and the largest single sheet measured 0.5 cm x 1 cm in area, creating sheets of the material at sizes that are visible to the naked eye. Other comparable low-density materials are very brittle at this thickness and cannot achieve the degree of flexible shape recovery as shown.


  • Ultrathin material (20-70nm thickness) with nano-honeycomb structural enhancement
  • Robust mechanical characteristics such as shape recovery, flexibility, low density, temperature and chemical resistance

Stage of Development:

Centimeter scale plates created, with good potential for scalability

Intellectual Property:

Provisional application filed 9/15/2014

Reference Media:

Desired Partnerships:

  • License
  • Sponsored research

Patent Information:


Docket #  15-7242

For Information, Contact:

Qishui Chen Licensing Officer, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania