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Gram-scale production of graphene based on solvothermal synthesis and sonication

Abstract

Carbon nanostructures have emerged as likely candidates for a wide range of applications, driving research into novel synthetic techniques to produce nanotubes, graphene and other carbon-based materials. Single sheets of pristine graphene have been isolated from bulk graphite in small amounts by micromechanical cleavage1, and larger amounts of chemically modified graphene sheets have been produced by a number of approaches2,3,4,5,6,7. Both of these techniques make use of highly oriented pyrolitic graphite as a starting material and involve labour-intensive preparations. Here, we report the direct chemical synthesis of carbon nanosheets in gram-scale quantities in a bottom-up approach based on the common laboratory reagents ethanol and sodium, which are reacted to give an intermediate solid that is then pyrolized, yielding a fused array of graphene sheets that are dispersed by mild sonication. The ability to produce bulk graphene samples from non-graphitic precursors with a scalable, low-cost approach should take us a step closer to real-world applications of graphene.

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Figure 1: Example of the bulk quantity of graphene product.
Figure 2: TEM images of the agglomerated graphene sheets.
Figure 3: SEM image of the as-synthesized graphene structures.
Figure 4: AFM image of graphene in tapping mode.
Figure 5: SAED pattern of graphene at 300 keV.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the Faculty Research Grant Program (FRGP), Goldstar grants and an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) to M.C. AFM measurements were carried out courtesy of P.T. at the University of Sydney.

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J.A.S. and M.C. conceived and designed the experiments and developed the interpretation of results. M.C. synthesized all samples. P.T. assisted in the measurement and interpretation of the AFM data. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to John A. Stride.

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Choucair, M., Thordarson, P. & Stride, J. Gram-scale production of graphene based on solvothermal synthesis and sonication. Nature Nanotech 4, 30–33 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2008.365

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