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Chemistry-A European Journal 2016, 22(1), 153-159

Electrochemically Exfoliated Graphene and Graphene Oxide for Energy Storage and Electrochemistry Applications

Top-down methods are of key importance for large-scale graphene and graphene oxide preparation. Electrochemical exfoliation of graphite has lately gained much interest because of the simplicity of execution, the short process time, and the good quality of graphene that can be obtained. Here, we test three different electrolytes, that is, H2SO4, Na2SO4, and LiClO4, with a common exfoliation procedure to evaluate the difference in structural and chemical properties that result for the graphene. The properties are analyzed by means of scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. We then tested the graphene materials for electrochemical applications, measuring the heterogeneous electron transfer (HET) rates with a Fe(CN)(6)(3-/4-) redox probe, and their capacitive behavior in alkaline solutions. We correlate the electrochemical features with the presence of structural defects and oxygen functionalities on the graphene materials. In particular, the use of LiClO4 during the electrochemical exfoliation of graphite allowed the formation of highly oxidized graphene with a C/O ratio close to 4.0 and represents a possible avenue for the mass production of graphene oxide as valid alternative to the current laborious and dangerous chemical procedures, which also have limited scalability.

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