Graphene oxide has recently been considered to be a potential replacement for cadmium-based quantum dots due to its expected high fluorescence. Although previously reported, the origin of the luminescence in graphene oxide is still controversial. Here, we report the presence of core/valence excitons in graphene-based materials, a basic ingredient for optical devices, induced by quantum confinement. Electron confinement in the unreacted graphitic regions of graphene oxide was probed by high resolution X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy and first-principles calculations. Using experiments and simulations, we were able to tune the core/valence exciton energy by manipulating the size of graphitic regions through the degree of oxidation. The binding energy of an exciton in highly oxidized graphene oxide is similar to that in organic electroluminescent materials. These results open the possibility of graphene oxide-based optoelectronic device technology.
In-plane and out-of-plane arrangements of carbon atoms in graphene layers play critical roles in the fundamental physics and practical applications of these novel two-dimensional materials. Here, we report initial results on the edge/crystal orientations and stacking orders of bi- and tri-layer graphene (BLG and TLG) from Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) experiments performed on the same sample. We introduce a new method of transferring graphene flakes onto a normal TEM grid. Using this novel method, we probed the BLG and TLG flakes that had been previously investigated by Raman scattering with high-resolution (atomic) TEM.
Mass production of high-quality graphene nanosheets (GNs) is essential for practical applications. We report that oxidation of graphite by low concentration KMnO4 at relatively high temperature (60°C) leads to edge-selectively oxidized graphite (EOG) which preserves the high crystalline graphitic structure on its basal planes while the edges are functionalized by oxygen-containing groups. Long-chain tetradecyl-ammonium salt (C14N+) could be spontaneously intercalated into EOG to form intercalated EOG-C14N+ compounds. Gentle and short-time sonication of EOG-C14N+ in toluene can full exfoliate EOG into edge-oxidized graphene nanosheets (EOGNs) with concentration of 0.67 mg/ml, monolayer population up to 90% and lateral size from 1 μm to >100 μm. The EOG and EOGN films show excellent electrical conductance, which is far superior to their graphene oxide (GO) counterparts. Our method provides an efficient way to produce high-quality GNs, and the resultant EOG also can be directly used for production of multifunctional materials and devices.
Based on a newly developed size-dependent cohesive energy formula for two-dimensional materials, a unified theoretical model was established to illustrate the gap openings in disordered graphene flakes, involving quantum dots, nanoribbons and nanoporous sheets. It tells us that the openings are essentially dominated by the variation in cohesive energy of C atoms, associated to the edge physicochemical nature regarding the coordination imperfection or the chemical bonding. In contrast to those ideal flakes, consequently, the gaps can be opened monotonously for disordered flakes on changing their sizes, affected by the dimension, geometric shape and the edge saturation. Using the density functional theory, accordingly, the electronic structures of disordered flakes differ to the ideal case because of the edge disorder. Our theoretical predictions have been validated by available experimental results, and provide us a distinct way for the quantitative modulation of bandgap in graphene for nanoelectronics.
First-principles study on the electronic structure and transport property of the boron nitride sheet (BNC) structure, in which a triangular graphene flake surrounded by a hexagonal boron nitride sheet, is implemented. As the graphene flake becomes small and is more isolated by the boron nitride region, the magnetic ordering of the flake increases. When the BNC structure is connected to the graphene electrodes, the spin-polarized charge-density distribution appears only at the triangular graphene flake region, and the electronic structure of the graphene electrode is not spin polarized. First-principles transport calculation reveals that the transport property of the BNC structure is spin dependent.
First-principles calculation; Graphene; Hexagonal boron nitride; Spin-dependent transport property
Nonlinear optical microscopy, based on femtosecond laser spectral reshaping, characterized and imaged graphene samples made from different methods, both on slides and in a biological environment. This technique clearly discriminates between graphene flakes with different numbers of layers and reveals the distinct nonlinear optical properties of reduced graphene oxide as compared to mechanically exfoliated or chemical vapor deposition grown graphene. The nonlinearity makes it applicable to scattering samples (such as tissue) as opposed to previous methods, such as transmission. This was demonstrated by high-resolution imaging of breast cancer cells incubated with graphene flakes.
Graphene; graphene layer counting; nonlinear microscopy; optical pulse shaping
Chemically modified graphite is an economical material with promising applications in its own right or as an intermediate in the synthesis of graphene. However, because of its extreme chemical inertness, to date only two methods—oxidation and fluorination—have been found which can modify graphite with high yield and large throughput. Herein, we describe a third chemical approach for the synthesis of large quantities of highly modified graphite which uses a microwave-sparks-assisted halogenation reaction. The resulting graphite halide can easily be exfoliated into monolayer graphene in organic solvents. The structure and electronic properties of the original graphene can be recovered after thermal annealing of the graphene halide. Furthermore, the graphene halide can be further modified by a variety of organic functional groups. Solution-processed field-effect transistors based on the graphene halides resulted in device performances were comparable to, or even better than, that of graphene oxide.
We report on the first exfoliation of MoS2 coaxial nanotubes. The single-layer flakes, as the result of exfoliation, represent the transition metal dichalcogenides' analogue of graphene. They show a very low degree of restacking in comparison with exfoliation of MoS2 plate-like crystals. MoS2 monolayers were investigated by means of electron and atomic force microscopies, showing their structure, and ultraviolet-visible spectrometry, revealing quantum confinement as the consequence of the nanoscale size in the z-direction.
molybdenum disulfide; nanotubes; exfoliation
To grow precisely aligned graphene on h-BN without metal catalyst is extremely important, which allows for intriguing physical properties and devices of graphene/h-BN hetero-structure to be studied in a controllable manner. In this report, such hetero-structures were fabricated and investigated by atomic resolution scanning probe microscopy. Moiré patterns are observed and the sensitivity of moiré interferometry proves that the graphene grains can align precisely with the underlying h-BN lattice within an error of less than 0.05°. The occurrence of moiré pattern clearly indicates that the graphene locks into h-BN via van der Waals epitaxy with its interfacial stress greatly released. It is worthy to note that the edges of the graphene grains are primarily oriented along the armchair direction. The field effect mobility in such graphene flakes exceeds 20,000 cm2·V−1·s−1 at ambient condition. This work opens the door of atomic engineering of graphene on h-BN, and sheds light on fundamental research as well as electronic applications based on graphene/h-BN hetero-structure.
Bernal stacked (AB stacked) bilayer graphene is of significant interest for functional electronic and photonic devices due to the feasibility to continuously tune its band gap with a vertical electrical field. Mechanical exfoliation can be used to produce AB stacked bilayer graphene flakes but typically with the sizes limited to a few micrometers. Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) has been recently explored for the synthesis of bilayer graphene but usually with limited coverage and a mixture of AB and randomly stacked structures. Herein we report a rational approach to produce large-area high quality AB stacked bilayer graphene. We show that the self-limiting effect of graphene growth on Cu foil can be broken by using a high H2/CH4 ratio in a low pressure CVD process to enable the continued growth of bilayer graphene. A high temperature and low pressure nucleation step is found to be critical for the formation of bilayer graphene nuclei with high AB stacking ratio. A rational design of a two-step CVD process is developed for the growth of bilayer graphene with high AB stacking ratio (up to 90 %) and high coverage (up to 99 %). The electrical transport studies demonstrated that devices made of the as-grown bilayer graphene exhibit typical characteristics of AB stacked bilayer graphene with the highest carrier mobility exceeding 4,000 cm2/V·s at room temperature, comparable to that of the exfoliated bilayer graphene.
bilayer graphene; band gap; AB stacking; chemical vapor deposition; copper foil
Mirrored carbon-spirals have been produced from pressured ferrocene via the bilateral extrusion of the spiral pairs from an iron core. A parametric plot of the surface geometry displays the fractal growth of the conical helix made with the logarithmic spiral. Electron microscopy studies show the core is a crystalline cementite which grows and transforms its shape from spherical to biconical as it extrudes two spiralling carbon arms. In a cross section along the arms we observe graphitic flakes arranged in a herringbone structure, normal to which defects propagate. Local-wave-pattern analysis reveals nanoscale defect patterns of two-fold symmetry around the core. The data suggest that the bilateral growth originates from a globular cementite crystal with molten surfaces and the nano-defects shape emerging hexagonal carbon into a fractal structure. Understanding and knowledge obtained provide a basis for the controlled production of advanced carbon materials with designed geometries.
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) have been synthesized by chemical vapour decomposition (CVD) of acetylene over Rare Earth (RE) based AB2(DyNi2) alloy hydride catalyst. The as-grown carbon nanotubes were purified by acid and heat treatments and characterized using powder X-ray diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, Thermo Gravimetric Analysis and Raman Spectroscopy. Fully carbon based field emitters have been fabricated by spin coating a solutions of both as-grown and purified MWNT and dichloro ethane (DCE) over carbon paper with and without graphitized layer. The use of graphitized carbon paper as substrate opens several new possibilities for carbon nanotube (CNT) field emitters, as the presence of the graphitic layer provides strong adhesion between the nanotubes and carbon paper and reduces contact resistance. The field emission characteristics have been studied using an indigenously fabricated set up and the results are discussed. CNT field emitter prepared by spin coating of the purified MWNT–DCE solution over graphitized carbon paper shows excellent emission properties with a fairly stable emission current over a period of 4 h. Analysis of the field emission characteristics based on the Fowler–Nordheim (FN) theory reveals current saturation effects at high applied fields for all the samples.
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes; DyNi2alloy hydride; Spin coating; Dichloro ethane; Graphitized carbon paper; CNT field emitter; Fowler–Nordheim theory
The creation of magnetic storage devices by decoration of a graphene sheet by magnetic transition-metal adatoms, utilizing the high in-plane versus out-of-plane magnetic anisotropy energy (MAE), has recently been proposed. This concept is extended in our density-functional-based modeling study by incorporating the influence of the graphene edge on the MAE. We consider triangular graphene flakes with both armchair and zigzag edges in which a single ruthenium adatom is placed at symmetrically inequivalent positions. Depending on the edge-type, the graphene edge was found to influence the MAE in opposite ways: for the armchair flake the MAE increases close to the edge, while the opposite is true for the zigzag edge. Additionally, in-plane pinning of the magnetization direction perpendicular to the edge itself is observed for the first time.
adsorbate; grapheme; graphene quantum dot; magnetic anisotropy; transition metal
We report the experimental evidence for the formation of multi-quantum dots in a hydrogenated single-layer graphene flake. The existence of multi-quantum dots is supported by the low-temperature measurements on a field effect transistor structure device. The resulting Coulomb blockade diamonds shown in the color scale plot together with the number of Coulomb peaks exhibit the characteristics of the so-called ‘stochastic Coulomb blockade’. A possible explanation for the formation of the multi-quantum dots, which is not observed in pristine graphene to date, was attributed to the impurities and defects unintentionally decorated on a single-layer graphene flake which was not treated with the thermal annealing process. Graphene multi-quantum dots developed around impurities and defect sites during the hydrogen plasma exposure process.
Multi-quantum dots; Single-layer graphene flake; Coulomb peaks
Two-dimensional graphitic carbon is a new material with many emerging applications, and studying its chemical properties is an important goal. Here, we reported a new phenomenon – the enzymatic oxidation of a single layer of graphitic carbon by horseradish peroxidase (HRP). In the presence of low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (~40 µM), HRP catalyzed the oxidation of graphene oxide, which resulted in the formation of holes on its basal plane. During the same period of analysis, HRP failed to oxidize chemically reduced graphene oxide (RGO). The enzymatic oxidation was characterized by Raman, UV-Vis, EPR and FT-IR spectroscopy, TEM, AFM, SDS-PAGE, and GC-MS. Computational docking studies indicated that HRP was preferentially bound to the basal plane rather than the edge for both graphene oxide and RGO. Due to the more dynamic nature of HRP on graphene oxide, the heme active site of HRP was in closer proximity to graphene oxide compared to RGO, thereby facilitating the oxidation of the basal plane of graphene oxide. We also studied the electronic properties of the reduced intermediate product, holey reduced graphene oxide (hRGO), using field-effect transistor (FET) measurements. While RGO exhibited a V-shaped transfer characteristic similar to a single layer of graphene that was attributed to its zero band gap, hRGO demonstrated a p-type semiconducting behavior with a positive shift in the Dirac points. This p-type behavior rendered hRGO, which can be conceptualized as interconnected graphene nanoribbons, as a potentially attractive material for FET sensors.
graphene; oxidation; microscopy; peroxidase; field-effect transistor
Suspensions of graphene, prepared from graphite foil by sonochemical exfoliation, have been treated with new nonpolar pyrenebutyric amides. The assemblies, in suspension and after deposition on solid supports, were characterized by NMR, absorption, and fluorescence spectroscopy and by transmission electron microscopy, where the well-defined shape and size of an appended fulleropyrrolidine unit facilitates TEM detection of the nonstationary molecules. The accumulated evidence, also including direct comparisons of carbon nanotubes treated with pyrene amides under the same conditions, proves the successful noncovalent functionalization of graphene suspended in non-polar solvent with non-polar pyrene derivatives.
Imaging of cellular structure and extended tissue in biological materials requires nanometer resolution and good sample penetration, which can be provided by current full-field transmission X-ray microscopic techniques in the soft and hard X-ray regions. The various capabilities of full-field transmission X-ray microscopy (TXM) include 3D tomography, Zernike phase contrast, quantification of absorption, and chemical identification via X-ray fluorescence and X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) imaging. These techniques are discussed and compared in light of results from imaging of biological materials including microorganisms, bone and mineralized tissue and plants, with a focus on hard X-ray TXM at ≤ 40 nm resolution.
Full-field transmission X-ray microscopy; hard X-ray; bio-imaging; bone; yeast; microbes
Chemically modified graphenes and other graphite-based materials have attracted growing interest for their unique potential as lightweight electronic and structural nanomaterials. It is an important challenge to construct structural models of noncrystalline graphite-based materials on the basis of NMR or other spectroscopic data. To address this challenge, a solid-state NMR (SSNMR)-based structural modeling approach is presented on graphite oxide (GO), which is a prominent precursor and interesting benchmark system of modified graphene. An experimental 2D 13C double-quantum/single-quantum correlation SSNMR spectrum of 13C-labeled GO was compared with spectra simulated for different structural models using ab initio geometry optimization and chemical shift calculations. The results show that the spectral features of the GO sample are best reproduced by a geometry-optimized structural model that is based on the Lerf−Klinowski model (Lerf, A. et al. Phys. Chem. B1998, 102, 4477); this model is composed of interconnected sp2, 1,2-epoxide, and COH carbons. This study also convincingly excludes the possibility of other previously proposed models, including the highly oxidized structures involving 1,3-epoxide carbons (Szabo, I. et al. Chem. Mater.2006, 18, 2740). 13C chemical shift anisotropy (CSA) patterns measured by a 2D 13C CSA/isotropic shift correlation SSNMR were well reproduced by the chemical shift tensor obtained by the ab initio calculation for the former model. The approach presented here is likely to be applicable to other chemically modified graphenes and graphite-based systems.
MnO2 supported on graphene oxide (GO) made from different graphite materials has been synthesized and further investigated as electrode materials for supercapacitors. The structure and morphology of MnO2-GO nanocomposites are characterized by X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoemission spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and Nitrogen adsorption-desorption. As demonstrated, the GO fabricated from commercial expanded graphite (denoted as GO(1)) possesses more functional groups and larger interplane gap compared to the GO from commercial graphite powder (denoted as GO(2)). The surface area and functionalities of GO have significant effects on the morphology and electrochemical activity of MnO2, which lead to the fact that the loading amount of MnO2 on GO(1) is much higher than that on GO(2). Elemental analysis performed via inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy confirmed higher amounts of MnO2 loading on GO(1). As the electrode of supercapacitor, MnO2-GO(1) nanocomposites show larger capacitance (307.7 F g-1) and better electrochemical activity than MnO2-GO(2) possibly due to the high loading, good uniformity, and homogeneous distribution of MnO2 on GO(1) support.
Two-dimensional and three-dimensional single-pixel and single-voxel speciation of Ni in Li-ion battery electrodes is accomplished combining full-field hard X-ray transmission microscopy and XANES imaging at tens of nanometers resolution.
The ability to probe morphology and phase distribution in complex systems at multiple length scales unravels the interplay of nano- and micrometer-scale factors at the origin of macroscopic behavior. While different electron- and X-ray-based imaging techniques can be combined with spectroscopy at high resolutions, owing to experimental time limitations the resulting fields of view are too small to be representative of a composite sample. Here a new X-ray imaging set-up is proposed, combining full-field transmission X-ray microscopy (TXM) with X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy to follow two-dimensional and three-dimensional morphological and chemical changes in large volumes at high resolution (tens of nanometers). TXM XANES imaging offers chemical speciation at the nanoscale in thick samples (>20 µm) with minimal preparation requirements. Further, its high throughput allows the analysis of large areas (up to millimeters) in minutes to a few hours. Proof of concept is provided using battery electrodes, although its versatility will lead to impact in a number of diverse research fields.
X-ray microscopy; synchrotron X-ray imaging; Li-ion battery; XANES
Candle wax was used as a precursor for the production of a diamond-nanotube composite in a single step. The composite films were fabricated by sulfur-assisted hot-filament chemical vapor deposition technique. The morphology of the composite films was analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Raman spectra of the films show characteristic diamond band at 1,332 cm−1, D-band around 1,342 cm−1, and graphitic G-band around 1,582 cm−1. The electron energy-loss spectroscopy recorded at the carbon K-edge region shows signature features of diamond and carbon nanotube in the fabricated material. The ability to synthesize diamond-nanotube composites at relatively low temperatures by a single-step process opens up new possibilities for the fabrication of nanoelectronic devices.
Carbon nanotubes; Diamond crystals; Chemical vapor deposition
Nanofluids are having wide area of application in electronic and cooling industry. In the present work, hydrogen exfoliated graphene (HEG) dispersed deionized (DI) water, and ethylene glycol (EG) based nanofluids were developed. Further, thermal conductivity and heat transfer properties of these nanofluids were systematically investigated. HEG was synthesized by exfoliating graphite oxide in H2 atmosphere at 200°C. The nanofluids were prepared by dispersing functionalized HEG (f-HEG) in DI water and EG without the use of any surfactant. HEG and f-HEG were characterized by powder X-ray diffractometry, electron microscopy, Raman and FTIR spectroscopy. Thermal and electrical conductivities of f-HEG dispersed DI water and EG based nanofluids were measured for different volume fractions and at different temperatures. A 0.05% volume fraction of f-HEG dispersed DI water based nanofluid shows an enhancement in thermal conductivity of about 16% at 25°C and 75% at 50°C. The enhancement in Nusselts number for these nanofluids is more than that of thermal conductivity.
ZnO nanostructures were synthesized by hydrothermal method using different molar ratios of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) as structure directing agents. The effect of surfactants on the morphology of the ZnO crystals was investigated by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques. The results indicate that the mixture of cationic-anionic surfactants can significantly modify the shape and size of ZnO particles. Various structures such as flakes, sheets, rods, spheres, flowers and triangular-like particles sized from micro to nano were obtained. In order to examine the possible changes in other properties of ZnO, characterizations like powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), thermogravimetric and differential thermogravimetric analysis (TGA-DTG), FTIR, surface area and porosity and UV-visible spectroscopy analysis were also studied and discussed.
zinc oxide; sodium dodecyl sulfate; cetyltrimethylammonium bromide; hydrothermal synthesis
Freestanding MoS2 nanosheets with different sizes were prepared through a simple exfoliated method by tuning the ultrasonic time in the organic solvent. Magnetic measurement results reveal the clear room-temperature ferromagnetism for all the MoS2 nanosheets, in contrast to the pristine MoS2 in its bulk form which shows diamagnetism only. Furthermore, results indicate that the saturation magnetizations of the nanosheets increase as the size decreases. Combining the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and electron spin resonance results, it is suggested that the observed magnetization is related to the presence of edge spins on the edges of the nanosheets. These MoS2 nanosheets may find applications in nanodevices and spintronics by controlling the edge structures.
Ferromagnetism; MoS2 nanosheets; Exfoliation
The high elastic modulus and interlayer strengths of graphite flakes make them a durable solid superlubricant. Apart from this, they have configurable electrical properties, exhibit quantum Hall effects, and possess a myriad of useful photonic properties. The self-retraction behavior of graphite flakes can have significant impact on the creation of ordered stacks for various applications because any accidental or intentional displacement of the top flake over the stacks below may result in a misalignment of the carbon-carbon atomic arrangement which, in turn, can have influence over the electrical and photonic properties. It has also been revealed that there was a tendency of the displaced microflake to fail at times to return to its original starting position and orientation. Here, we elucidate this behavior by considering the influence of the interlayer potential forces based on minimal potential energy seeking. The maps of the parameters interrogated here provide the ability for precautions to be undertaken. They also potentially permit the creation of an array of microflake stacks in which the metastable states permit different information to be encoded by virtue of the differentiated photonic or electrical characteristics readable from each array site.