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Keywords:

  • aggregation;
  • graphene;
  • hydrophobic effect;
  • molecular dynamics;
  • oligonucleotides

Abstract

Applications of graphene sheets in the fields of biosensors and biomedical devices are limited by their insolubility in water. Consequently, understanding the dispersion mechanism of graphene in water and exploring an effective way to prepare stable dispersions of graphene sheets in water is of vital importance for their application in biomaterials, biosensors, biomedical devices, and drug delivery. Herein, a method for stable dispersion of graphene sheets in water by single-stranded oligodeoxynucleotides (ssODNs) is studied. Owing to van der Waals interactions between graphene sheets, they undergo layer-to-layer (LtL) aggregation in water. Molecular dynamics simulations show that, by disrupting van der Waals interaction of graphene sheets with ssODNs, LtL aggregation of graphene sheets is prevented, and water molecules can be distributed stably between graphene sheets. Thus, graphene sheets are dispersed stably in water in the presence of ssODNs. The effects of size and molarity of ssODNs and noncovalent modification of graphene sheets are also discussed.