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The Formation of Large-Area Conducting Graphene-Like Platelets



The treatment of a suspension of graphite oxide (GO) with sodium azide leads to a material that, after reduction, features amino groups at the top and bottom of the sheets. These groups react through microcontact printing with an isothiocyanate monolayer on a silicon oxide substrate to form covalent bonds that strongly attach to the particles on the surface. With ultrasonication it is possible to obtain exfoliation of the sheets that are not covalently bound to the surface leaving single-layer platelets attached to the substrate. The azido derivative can be also used to functionalize the graphene oxide with long alkylic chains through a click chemistry approach. This functionalization results in the exfoliation of this material in dimethylformamide. The novel materials were fully characterized by different techniques including IR spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM), X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and solid state NMR spectroscopy. The material with amino groups, after the reduction step, is conductive with a resistivity only approximately seven times larger than that of unprocessed graphite. This implies that after reduction of the GO, the conjugated sp2 network is largely restored. We consider this to be an important step towards a chemical approach for forming conducting large-area platelet films of single-layer graphene.