Graphene based nano-coatings: synthesis and physical-chemical investigations
Nyangiwe, Nangamso Nathaniel
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It is well known that a lead pencil is made of graphite, a naturally form of carbon, this is important but not very exciting. The exciting part is that graphite contains stacked layers of graphene and each and every layer is one atom thick. Scientists believed that these graphene layers could not be isolated from graphite because they were thought to be thermodynamically unstable on their own and taking them out from the parent graphite crystal will lead them to collapse and not forming a layer. The question arose, how thin one could make graphite. Two scientists from University of Manchester answered this question by peeling layers from a graphite crystal by using sticky tape and then rubbing them onto a silicon dioxide surface. They managed to isolate just one atom thick layer from graphite for the first time using a method called micromechanical cleavage or scotch tape. In this thesis chemical method also known as Hummers method has been used to fabricate graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide. GO was synthesized through the oxidation of graphite to graphene oxide in the presence of concentrated sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid and potassium permanganate. A strong reducing agent known as hydrazine hydrate has also been used to reduce GO to rGO by removing oxygen functional groups, but unfortunately not all oxygen functional groups have been removed, that is why the final product is named rGO. GO and rGO solutions were then deposited on silicon substrates separately. Several characterization techniques in this work have been used to investigate the optical properties, the morphology, crystallography and vibrational properties of GO and rGO.