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:

Urbix Resources to build a purification plant in Vietnam

Urbix Resources logo imageAiming to ramp up their international operations, Urbix Resources will reportedly work with Hanoi-based Vietnam Graphite Group to build a 70,000 tonne purification plant in Vietnam. The Vietnamese purification plant will be situated within VGG’s graphite mining operations in North Western Vietnam and will serve customers in Japan and the surrounding region.

The facility is scheduled for stage one completion in late 2020. It is anticipated the purification plant will have the capability of achieving revenues exceeding US $200 million annually once the second stage is completed the following year. It appears that the plant will be used to produce, among other materials, graphene oxide and graphene nanoplatelets.

University of Manchester researcher develops GO coating that makes living cells and tissues more visible

University of Manchester researcher, Dr Thomas Waigh, has developed a technology that may make living cells and tissues more visible during analysis through the addition of graphene oxide (GO). The use of a GO GO coating to microscopy slides was found to improve both fluorescence imaging contrast and resolution.

University of Manchester researcher develops GO coating that makes living cells and tissues more visible

Dr Waigh said: “My team has developed technology which uses monomolecular sheets of GO to coat microscopy slides, thereby eliminating background fluorescence and improving the resolution of images”. "It’s an important breakthrough as GO is cheap and easy to manufacture in large quantities. The cost to coat each slide is estimated to be 12 pence".

Northwestern team creates ‘GO dough’ for easy molding and transporting

Researchers from Northwestern University have turned graphene oxide (GO) into a soft, moldable and kneadable "play dough" that can be shaped and reshaped into free-standing, three-dimensional structures.

Northwestern team creates ‘GO dough’ for easy molding and transporting image

Called “GO dough”, this malleable material is said to solve several long-standing problems in the graphene manufacturing industry. “Currently graphene oxide is stored as dry solids or powders, which are prone to combustion and explosion,” said Jiaxing Huang, who led the study. “Or they have to be turned into dilute dispersions, which multiply the material’s mass by hundreds or thousands.”

Researchers use bacteria to create a graphene oxide based water filter that kills bacteria

Researchers from Washington University have designed a novel membrane technology that purifies water while preventing biofouling, or buildup of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms that reduce the flow of water. And they used graphene and bacteria to build these filtering membranes.

Researchers use bacteria to create a graphene oxide based water filter that kills bacteria image

The team developed an ultrafiltration membrane using graphene oxide and bacterial nanocellulose that they found to be highly efficient, long-lasting and environmentally friendly. If their technique were to be scaled up to a large size, it could benefit many developing countries where clean water is scarce.

Rensselaer team develops a microfluidics-assisted technique to produce macroscopic graphene fibers

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new microfluidics-assisted technique for developing high-performance macroscopic graphene fibers. Graphene fiber have potential applications in diverse technological areas, from energy storage, electronics, optics, electro-magnetics, and thermal conductors, to structural applications.

Microfluidics-Enabled Manufacturing of Macroscopic Graphene Fibers imageSheet alignment and orientation order of graphene structures induced by microfluidics design enable the microstructure control and optimization of thermal-mechanical and electronic properties of macroscopic graphene fibers

The team explained that It has been historically difficult to simultaneously optimize both the thermal/electrical and the mechanical properties of graphene fibers. However, the Rensselaer team has demonstrated their ability to do both.