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Chemistry-A European Journal 2014, 20(7), 1871-1877

Regeneration of a Conjugated sp(2) Graphene System through Selective Defunctionalization of Epoxides by Using a Proven Synthetic Chemistry Mechanism

Graphene is a promising material capable of driving technological advancement. It is, however, a challenge to obtain pristine graphene in large quantities given the limitation of current synthetic methods. Among the numerous methods available, the chemical approach provides an optimistic outlook and has garnered much interest within the graphene community as a potential alternative. One of the most crucial steps of the chemical approach is the chemical reduction of graphene oxide as this dictates the final quality of the graphene sheets. In recent years, much of the focus has shifted to the usage of established reducing agents or oxygen removal reagents, frequently applied in organic chemistry, onto a graphene oxide platform. Herein, the selective removal of epoxide groups and subsequent regeneration of disrupted conjugated sp(2) system is highlighted, based on the synergistic effect of indium and indium(I) chloride. The morphological, structural, and electrical properties of the resulting graphene were fully characterized with X-ray photoelectron, Fourier transform IR, solid-state C-13 NMR, and Raman spectroscopy; thermogravimetric analysis; scanning electron microscopy; and conductivity measurements. The as-prepared graphene showed a tenfold increase in conductivity against conventional graphene treated with hydrazine reducing agent and demonstrated a high dispersion stability in ethanol. Moreover, the selective defunctionalization of the epoxide groups provides opportunities for potential tailoring of graphene properties for prospective applications.

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