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ACS Nano 2017, 11(2), 1789-1797

Synthesis of Carboxylated-Graphenes by the Kolbe-Schmitt Process

Graphene oxide is an oxidized form of graphene containing a large variety of oxygen groups. Although past models have suggested carboxylic acids to be present in significant amounts, recent evidence has shown otherwise. Toward the production of carboxyl-graphene, a synthetic method is presented herein based on the Kolbe- Schmitt process. A modified procedure of heating graphite oxide in the presence of a KOH/CaO mixture results in up to 11 atom % of carboxylic groups. The graphite oxide starting material and reaction temperature were investigated as two important factors, where a crumpled morphology of graphite oxide flakes and a lower 220 degrees C temperature preferentially led to greater carboxyl functionalization. Successful carboxylation caused a band gap opening of similar to 2.5 eV in the smallest carboxyl graphene particles, which also demonstrated a yellow fluorescence under UV light unseen in its counterpart produced at 500 degrees C. These results are in good agreement with theoretical calculations showing band gap opening and spin polarization of impurity states. This demonstrates the current synthetic process as yet another approach toward tuning the physical properties of graphene.

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