Characterization of Reduced Graphene Oxide
Gina Samuelson, PhD Professor of Chemistry, and student researcher Madisen Hyatt, were awarded a $2000 3M Small Scale grant. Nanomaterials have unique physical, chemical, mechanical, and optical properties that often differ from their corresponding micron or millimeter scale materials. The unique structure of nanomaterials allows them to exhibit new and exciting properties that show promise for use in nanotechnologies from electronics, to structural materials, to drug delivery. An interesting class of strong, transparent, and lightweight nanomaterials is graphene and its derivatives: graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO). Graphene is a two dimensional sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice with excellent electrical conductivity. However, when oxygen atoms are introduced to the sheet, the resulting material, GO, is an electrical insulator. In order to control the conductive properties of GO, oxygen can be partially removed, resulting in rGO. Traditionally, this reduction has used toxic hydrazine. However, recent studies have shown promise for more benign reducing agents doing this chemistry. The purpose of this study is build on those studies by monitoring and controlling the reduction of GO to rGO using benign reagents in order to tune the nanomaterial’s properties. The extent of reduction will be controlled by varying the amount of reducing agent and monitored through changes in spectral properties and electrical conductivity measurements. Given the growing demand for small, lightweight electronics, these studies are intriguing because the ability to tune the properties of GO via reduction may potentially revolutionize the field of nanoelectronics.