A new breakthrough in making graphene has been created by Professor Aldo Zarbin and his team at the Universidade Federal do Paraná in Brazil. The Royal Society of Chemistry published this work, you can find out the details at this hyperlink.
As well as being an entirely new method for making graphene, this process seems to be relatively straightforward. It works at room temperature and pressure and is essentially a mixing process of a solvent and water phase with the addition of a small amount of solid iron salts.
The method can be summarised as follows:
- Dissolve benzene in n-hexane
- Float on top of water
- Add Iron Chloride (FeCl3) powder
- Stir then allow to settle
- Graphene forms at the solvent / water interface
- The graphene is made in a mix of monolayer and multilayer pieces.
- These pieces of graphene are on the scale of micrometres, still small but larger than the nanometre scale pieces commonly made by the exfoliation of graphene from graphite
In effect this is making graphene by polymerising benzene.
It is still a research process and although the reaction conditions are straightforward, scaling this up to an industrial process will be extremely difficult.
One other thought occurs to me:
What if we put commercially available graphene nanoplates at the interface?
This might be a method for joining nanoplates or even a possible method for mending holes and tears in single crystal graphene…