Phospholipid-mediated exfoliation as a facile preparation method for graphene suspensions

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This paper deals with simple, inexpensive and 'green' methods of production for graphene in colloidal dispersion. Herein, we report on such a method by preparing aqueous graphene dispersions via ultrasonic exfoliation in the presence of 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC). The product predominantly consists of few-layer graphene flakes coated by DOPC with a lateral size of a few tens to hundreds of nm, as confirmed by Raman and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopies, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), dynamic light scattering (DLS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The novelty of this method lies in its dependence on a typical soft matter property: the fluidity of the hydrophobic chains. Stiffer phospholipids such as 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC, which possesses two palmitoyl chains) or 2-oleoyl-1-palmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC, one palmitoyl, one oleyl chain) are ineffective at dispersing graphene; however, in the presence of cholesterol these phospholipids also become effective mediators. The phospholipid coating renders the flakes compatible with biological environments.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19220-19225
Number of pages6
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number34
Early online date24 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018