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:

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.

Zen Graphene Solutions and Graphene Composites collaborate on graphene ink on fabrics for Coronavirus protection

Zen Graphene Solutions logo imageGraphene Composites logo imageZEN Graphene Solutions has announced an international collaboration with UK-based Graphene Composites to fight COVID-19 by developing a potential virucidal graphene-based composite ink that can be applied to fabrics including N95 face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for significantly increased protection. Once the development, testing, and confirmation of the graphene ink's virucidal ability have been completed, the ink will then be incorporated into fabrics used for PPE.

Francis Dubé, CEO of ZEN commented, "We are pleased to be collaborating with GC and be on the forefront of a new innovative technology that could contribute to combating the deadly COVID-19 virus. The development of this potential COVID-19 virucidal graphene ink is coming at a crucial time to provide effective PPE supplies for the safety of frontline workers and hospital staff." Dr. Dubé continued, "The current N95 masks trap the virus but don't kill it. Our testing will demonstrate if the graphene ink is an effective virucide which would kill the virus as this could make a big difference to people's safety. We have been very impressed by the Graphene Composites team and look forward to continued collaborations."

New "superhydrophobic" graphene material can separate oil from water

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati claim they have developed a graphene-based "superhydrophobic" material that can separate oil and water. The material could have various uses in industry and healthcare.

Superhydrophobic materials – materials with extreme water repellency – are considered the best for removing oil from water, but they are generally not scalable, use environmentally toxic products such as fluorinated polymers, or have poor mechanical and chemical stability.

Graphene-based actuator swarm enables programmable deformation

Researchers at Jilin University and Tsinghua University in China have presented a self-healing graphene-based actuator swarm that enables programmable 3D deformation by integrating SU-8 pattern arrays with GO.

Chinese team develops graphene and GO actuators image(a) Schematic illustration of the fabrication of patterned SU-8/GO bilayer film using UV lithography. (b) The paper model of patterned SU-8/GO ribbon and its predictable moisture-responsive deformation under humidity actuation. Credit: Science China Press

Unlike previously published works, the actuator swarm can realize active and programmable deformation under moisture actuation. Here the SU-8 pattern arrays can be fabricated into any desired structures, in which an individual SU-8 pattern can be considered as an inert layer. In combination with the bottom GO layer, each SU-8 structure can form an individual bimorph actuator and deform actively under stimulation.