Vacuum-assisted microwave reduction/exfoliation of graphite oxide and the influence of precursor graphite oxide
One-step synthesis of high quality graphene at gram-scale quantities is important for industrial applications, e.g. in electrochemistry for sensing and energy storage. Currently, thermal reduction/exfoliation of graphite oxide (GO) is a typical method of choice. However, it has the drawback of requiring specialized equipment for rapid thermal shock. A recent alternative method, microwave-assisted exfoliation, usually suffers from poor reduction of graphite oxide and thus low C/O ratios. Herein we show that vacuum-assisted microwave reduction/exfoliation of graphite oxide in a closed system leads to high C/O ratios and partial hydrogenation of graphene (2.6 at.% of H). Microwave irradiation of graphite oxide in vacuum leads to outgassing from GO and the creation of plasma which aids temperature distribution and hydrogenation. This plasma is quickly extinguished by further dramatic evolution of gases from GO and consequent pressure increase. We assess the influence of precursor graphite oxide, prepared by Hummers, Staudenmaier, and Hofmann methods, upon the materials properties of microwave exfoliated graphene. We show that microwave-exfoliated graphenes prepared from different graphite oxides show very fast heterogeneous electron transfer rates, with similar electrochemical behaviour to thermally reduced graphene oxide. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.