Former structural models of graphene oxide (GO) indicated that it consists of graphene-like sheets with oxygen groups, and no attention was paid to the resulting sheet size. We now provide evidence of the complex GO structure consisting of large and small GO sheets (or oxidized debris). Different oxidation reactions were studied. KMnO4 derived GO consists of large sheets (20-30 wt.%), and oxidized debris deposits, which are formed by humicand fulvic-like fragments. Large GO sheets contain oxygen groups, especially at the edges, such as carbonyl, lactone and carboxylic groups. Humic-like debris consists of an amorphous gel containing more oxygenated groups and trapped water molecules. The main desorbable fraction upon heating is the fulvic-like material, which contains oxygen groups and fragments with high edge/surface ratio. KClO3 in HNO3 or the Brodie method produces a highly oxidized material but at the flake level surface only; little oxidized debris and water contents are found. It is noteworthy that an efficient basal cutting of the graphitic planes in addition to an effective intercalation is caused by KMnO4, and the aid of NaNO3 makes this process even more effective, thus yielding large monolayers of GO and a large amount of humic-and fulvic-like substances.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)