Graphene Oxide, Highly Reduced Graphene Oxide, and Graphene: Versatile Building Blocks for Carbon-Based Materials


  • Support for this work was provided by the United States NSF (Grant # DMR-0520513 and CHE-0936924) and the ARO (Grant # W911NF-09-1-0541). O.C.C. is an ACC-NSF fellow.


Isolated graphene, a nanometer-thick two-dimensional analog of fullerenes and carbon nanotubes, has recently sparked great excitement in the scientific community given its excellent mechanical and electronic properties. Particularly attractive is the availability of bulk quantities of graphene as both colloidal dispersions and powders, which enables the facile fabrication of many carbon-based materials. The fact that such large amounts of graphene are most easily produced via the reduction of graphene oxide—oxygenated graphene sheets covered with epoxy, hydroxyl, and carboxyl groups—offers tremendous opportunities for access to functionalized graphene-based materials. Both graphene oxide and graphene can be processed into a wide variety of novel materials with distinctly different morphological features, where the carbonaceous nanosheets can serve as either the sole component, as in papers and thin films, or as fillers in polymer and/or inorganic nanocomposites. This Review summarizes techniques for preparing such advanced materials via stable graphene oxide, highly reduced graphene oxide, and graphene dispersions in aqueous and organic media. The excellent mechanical and electronic properties of the resulting materials are highlighted with a forward outlook on their applications.