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:

Researchers produce graphene by mixing oxidized graphite with bacteria

Researchers at the U.S-based University of Rochester, along with colleagues at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, have designed a way to produce graphene materials using a novel technique: mixing oxidized graphite with bacteria. Their method is reportedly a more cost-efficient, time-saving, and environmentally friendly way of producing graphene materials versus those produced chemically, and could lead to the creation of innovative computer technologies and medical equipment.

Bacterially-made graphene is faster, cheaper and better imageFrom left to right:graphite (Gr), graphene oxide (GO), microbially‐reduced graphene oxide (mrGO), and chemically‐reduced graphene oxide (crGO)

"For real applications you need large amounts," says Anne S. Meyer, an associate professor of biology at the University of Rochester. "Producing these bulk amounts is challenging and typically results in graphene that is thicker and less pure. This is where our work came in". In order to produce larger quantities of graphene materials, Meyer and her colleagues started with a vial of graphite. They exfoliated the graphite-shedding the layers of material-to produce graphene oxide (GO), which they then mixed with the bacteria Shewanella. They let the beaker of bacteria and precursor materials sit overnight, during which time the bacteria reduced the GO to a graphene material.

Graphene and bacteria combine to create a powerful electrocatalyst

Researchers from KAUST show that microbes and nanomaterials like graphene can be used together to form a biohybrid material that performs well as an electrocatalyst. The team says that such materials could be used in the solar-powered production of carbon-free fuels and several other green-energy applications.

Graphene and bacteria to produce clean energy

A process called the oxygen-evolution reaction (OER) is at the heart of many clean energy technologies. In the case of solar-fuel production, for example, the OER enables the use of solar electricity to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, producing clean hydrogen that can be used as a fuel. Currently, rare and expensive metals are used as OER electrocatalysts. However, graphene-based biohybrid materials could make an inexpensive, eco-friendly alternative, as the team at KAUST has shown.

GrapheneCA launches Mobile Graphene Container System for in-house graphene manufacturing

GrapheneCA recently announced the development of a novel Mobile Graphene Container System (MGCS), a scalable, modular graphene production system, to help companies manufacture graphene in-house.

GrapheneCA creates mobile graphene container system for in-house graphene manufacturing image

The New York-based company, which develops graphene-based technology for industries, said MGCS is available in 40-foot containers that are designed specifically for industrial producers and high-tech applications.

Graphene Leaders Canada provides financial and commercial updates

Graphene Leaders Canada logo (2017)Graphene Leaders Canada (GLC) has announced that it has been awarded $350,000 CAD (around $261,000 USD) grant funding for a joint project under the National Research Council – United Kingdom (UK) Research Institute (NRC-UKRI) Research and Innovation Program. This funding will support GLC’s “Scaling of Graphene Oxide” towards the development of GLC’s Environmental platform of products.

“This project will support scale up activities of graphene oxide with a focus on developing a cost effective, scalable production method aimed at commercializing our environmental platform of products for air and water treatment,” said Dr. Leah Coumont, GLC’s Director of R&D.

Graphene oxide layers made to mimic biological channels may clean up pharmaceuticals production

KAUST researchers have tailored the structure of graphene-oxide layers to mimic the shape of biological channels, creating ultra-thin membranes to rapidly separate chemical mixtures. This may have the potential to inspire new materials to clean up chemical and pharmaceutical production.

2D-dual-spacing channel membranes for high performance organic solvent nanofiltration image

"In making pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, separating mixtures of organic molecules is an essential and tedious task," says Shaofei Wang, postdoctoral researcher in Suzana Nuñes lab at KAUST. One option to make these chemical separations faster and more efficient is through selectively permeable membranes, which feature tailored nanoscale channels that separate molecules by size.