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Improved understanding of graphene’s chemistry

Researchers have developed new ways to make graphene, which will allow for new and improved chemical and physical properties.
Improved understanding of graphene’s chemistry
Graphene can be obtained through mechanical cleavage from graphite or by chemical vapour deposition on metal foils. These methods produce good-quality graphene, but this graphene still needs to be tuned for specific functions, which remains a challenge.

The EU-funded MULTIGRAPHCHEM (Multifunctional graphene by means of a chemical approach) initiative worked to synthesise multifunctional graphene and related 2D materials using new chemical methods. The aim was to functionalise the graphene during its synthesis, introducing magnetic, optical, electrochemical and catalytic properties.

MULTIGRAPHCHEM synthesised several soluble functionalised graphene materials with different organic molecules using different strategies. The research was divided into two parts.

First, covalently functionalised graphene derivatives were synthesised via benchmark reductive routes using graphite intercalation compounds (GICs). This has provided important insights into the understanding of the basic principles of reductive graphene functionalisation and will serves as a guide in the design of new graphene functionalisation concepts.

The researchers then explored the noncovalent functionalisation approach using water-soluble tailor-made perylene diimides. They assembled the functionalised graphene into thin films and hybridised it with metal nanoparticles. These were then used to create graphene-based materials with interesting (opto)electronic and magnetic properties.

All the knowledge acquired about graphene was applied to develop the chemistry of other related single-element layered materials of utmost importance. In this sense, the liquid exfoliation of solvent-stabilised black phosphorus and its noncovalent functionalisation was developed for the first time.

Furthermore, the researchers developed a way to produce very stable suspensions of high-quality single- or few-layer antimonene, a very promising novel compound.

These results provide a better understanding of the chemical and physical properties of graphene and related 2D materials. This will have a far-reaching effect on materials science in years to come.

Related information


Graphene, MULTIGRAPHCHEM, functionalised graphene, nanoparticles, antimonene
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