Article last updated on: Jan 29, 2019

What is graphene?

Graphene is a material made of carbon atoms that are bonded together in a repeating pattern of hexagons. Graphene is so thin that it is considered two dimensional. Graphene's flat honeycomb pattern gives it many extraordinary characteristics, such as being the strongest material in the world, as well as one of the lightest, most conductive and transparent. Graphene has endless potential applications, in almost every industry (like electronics, medicine, aviation and much more).

An ideal graphene sheet image

The single layers of carbon atoms provide the basis for many other materials. Graphite, like the substance found in pencil lead, is formed by stacked graphene. Carbon nanotubes are made of rolled graphene and are used in many emerging applications from sports gear to biomedicine.

What is graphene oxide?

As graphene is expensive and relatively hard to produce, great efforts are made to find effective yet inexpensive ways to make and use graphene derivatives or related materials. Graphene oxide (GO) is one of those materials - it is a single-atomic layered material, made by the powerful oxidation of graphite, which is cheap and abundant. Graphene oxide is an oxidized form of graphene, laced with oxygen-containing groups. It is considered easy to process since it is dispersible in water (and other solvents), and it can even be used to make graphene. Graphene oxide is not a good conductor, but processes exist to augment its properties. It is commonly sold in powder form, dispersed, or as a coating on substrates.

Graphene Oxide structure

Graphene oxide is synthesized using four basic methods: Staudenmaier, Hofmann, Brodie and Hummers. Many variations of these methods exist, with improvements constantly being explored to achieve better results and cheaper processes. The effectiveness of an oxidation process is often evaluated by the carbon/oxygen ratios of the graphene oxide.



Graphene oxide uses

Graphene Oxide films can be deposited on essentially any substrate, and later converted into a conductor. This is why GO is especially fit for use in the production of transparent conductive films, like the ones used for flexible electronics, solar cells, chemical sensors and more. GO is even studied as a tin-oxide (ITO) replacement in batteries and touch screens.

Graphene Oxide has a high surface area, and so it can be fit for use as electrode material for batteries, capacitors and solar cells. Graphene Oxide is cheaper and easier to manufacture than graphene, and so may enter mass production and use sooner.

GO can easily be mixed with different polymers and other materials, and enhance properties of composite materials like tensile strength, elasticity, conductivity and more. In solid form, Graphene Oxide flakes attach one to another to form thin and stable flat structures that can be folded, wrinkled, and stretched. Such Graphene Oxide structures can be used for applications like hydrogen storage, ion conductors and nanofiltration membranes.

Graphene oxide is fluorescent, which makes it especially appropriate for various medical applications. bio-sensing and disease detection, drug-carriers and antibacterial materials are just some of the possibilities GO holds for the biomedical field.

Buy Graphene Oxide

Graphene oxide is relatively affordable and easy to find, with many companies that sell it. It does, however, get confusing since different companies offer products that vary in quality, price, form and more - making the choice of a specific product challenging. If you are interested in buying GO, contact Graphene-Info for advisement on the right GO for your exact needs!

Further reading

The latest graphene oxide news:

VFD technology enables next-gen bacteria detection using graphene oxide

Collaborative research between Flinders University's Institute for NanoScale Science and Technology and the Centre for Health Technologies at the University of Technology Sydney has used VFD technology to enable the preparation of a new generation of aggregation-induced emission dye (AIE) luminogens using graphene oxide (GO).

Traditional fluorescent dyes to examine bacteria viability are toxic and suffer poor photostability, so researchers are constantly looking for alternatives. Using the VFD to produce GO/AIE probes with the property of high fluorescence is said to be very promising—with the new GO/AIE nanoprobe having 1400% brighter fluorescent performance than AIE luminogen alone.

EU-funded ATTRACT consortium presents its support of several graphene projects

The MULTIMAL research project is developing a small device that can be used to rapidly identify malaria parasites using saliva samples, without the need for lab equipment. MULTIMAL is one of eight projects exploring new uses for graphene with support from ATTRACT, a €20 million EU-funded, CERN-led consortium, which has awarded 170 grants worth €100,000 each for one-year proof-of-concept technology projects.

Today’s portable malaria testing kits are “just above flipping a coin,” because they are right only 60 percent of the time, says MULTIMAL principal investigator Jérôme Bôrme. The disease, which the World Health Organisation says killed 435,000 people in 2017 (nearly all of them in Africa), is caused by five species of parasite that can be easily identified in a lab. But treating the disease in remote towns and villages is difficult because of the lack of reliable portable testing kits, explains Bôrme, MULTIMAL’s principal investigator and staff researcher at the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory in Portugal, which runs MULTIMAL in collaboration with the University of Minho.

Brown researchers combine a ceramic material with graphene to create the toughest solid electrolyte built to date

A team of Brown University researchers has found a way to double the toughness of a ceramic material used to make solid-state lithium ion batteries. The new strategy could be useful in bringing solid-state batteries to the mass market.

Graphene (rGO) can help prevent the propagation of cracks in ceramic materials used for battery electrolytes image

“There’s huge interest in replacing the liquid electrolytes in current batteries with ceramic materials because they’re safer and can provide higher energy density,” said Christos Athanasiou, a postdoctoral researcher in Brown’s School of Engineering and lead author of the research. “So far, research on solid electrolytes has focused on optimizing their chemical properties. With this work, we’re focusing on the mechanical properties, in the hope of making them safer and more practical for widespread use.”

Graphene Flagship welcomes sixteen new FLAG-ERA projects

The Graphene Flagship has announced 16 New FLAG-ERA projects, that cover a broad range of topics, from fundamental to applied research. These projects which will become Partnering Projects of the Graphene Flagship – receiving around €11 million in funding overall.

Bringing together a diverse range of European knowledge and expertise, FLAG-ERA is an ERA-NET (European Research Area Network) initiative that aims to create synergies between new research projects and the Graphene Flagship and Human Brain Project.

Researchers develop new high performance asymmetric supercapacitors

Researchers at Penn State and two universities in China have found that a new kind of supercapacitor, based on manganese oxide with cobalt manganese oxide as a positive electrode and a form of graphene oxide as a negative electrode, could combine the storage capacity of batteries with the high power and fast charging of other supercapacitors.

The group started with simulations to see how manganese oxide’s properties change when coupled with other materials. When they coupled it to a semiconductor, they found it made a conductive interface with a low resistance to electron and ion transport. This will be important because otherwise the material would be slow to charge.