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Helen Thomas

Under the supervision of Jon Rourke and Neil Wilson (of the microscopy group) I have been continuing the group research on graphene oxide (GO).

As-produced graphene oxide (aGO) is known to have a disrupted sp2 conjugated structure due to the presence of different oxidative functional groups: there is believed to be hydroxyl and 1,2 epoxides across the basal plane with carboxylic acids and other keto groups at the sheet edge. The exact distribution of these functional groups however, remains unknown. In order to increase our understanding and ability to manipulate the chemistry of GO we firstly need to find out more about its structure.

Previously we have shown that aGO is, in fact, a mixture: by mass, roughly 2/3 is lightly oxidised graphene like sheets, together with 1/3 heavily oxidised low-molecular weight material1. By analogy with earlier work on carbon nanotubes, we have identified this low molecular weight material to be oxidation debris (OD), and shown that it is possible to remove it from the graphene-like sheets via the simple expedient of washing with dilute aqueous base (NaOH); we refer to the lightly oxidised graphene-like sheets thus produced as base-washed GO (bwGO).

It is clear that the presence of OD affects the properties of graphene oxide; the solubility and conductivity of bwGO are dramatically different to that of aGO.

1. Rourke, J. P.; Pandey, P. A.; Moore, J. J.; Bates, M.; Kinloch, I. A.; Young, R. J.; Wilson, N. R., Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 50, 3173-3177 (2011). Download

NanoteC12 2012 Conference, Brighton:

We were awarded 1st place at the poster session for our presentation of recent results.

nanoteC12 Poster Session


H R Thomas, R J Deeth, G J Clarkson and J P Rourke. “A Palladium(II) agostic complex: exchange of aryl-Pd and alkyl-Pd bonds”; Organometallics, 2011, 30, 5641-5648. Download

S H Crosby, H R Thomas, G J Clarkson and J P Rourke. “Concerted reductive coupling of an alkyl chloride at Pt(IV)”; Chem. Comm., 2012, 48, 5775-5777. Download

H R Thomas, C Vallés, I A Kinloch, R J Young, N R Wilson and J P Rourke. “Identifying the fluorescence of graphene oxide”; J. Mater. Chem. C, 2013, 1, 338-342. Download

H R Thomas, S P Day, W E Woodruff, C Vallés, R J Young, I A Kinloch, G W Morley, J V Hanna, N R Wilson and J P Rourke. “Deoxygenation of Graphene Oxide: Reduction or Cleaning?”; Chem. Mater., 2013, 18, 3580-3588. Download