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The production of concentrated dispersions of few-layer graphene by the direct exfoliation of graphite in organosilanes

Daniele Nuvoli1, Valeria Alzari1, Roberta Sanna1, Sergio Scognamillo1, Massimo Piccinini2, Laura Peponi3, Josè Maria Kenny3* and Alberto Mariani1*

Author affiliations

1 Dipartimento di Chimica e Farmacia, Università di Sassari and local INSTM Unit, Via Vienna 2, Sassari, 07100, Italy

2 Porto Conte Ricerche S.r.l., SP 55 km 8.400 Loc., Tramariglio, Alghero, Sassari, 07041, Italy

3 ICTP-CSIC, Juan de la Cierva 3, Madrid, 28006, Spain

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:674  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-674

Published: 13 December 2012

Abstract

We report the formation and characterization of graphene dispersions in two organosilanes, 3-glycidoxypropyl trimethoxysilane (GPTMS) and phenyl triethoxysilane (PhTES) as new reactive solvents. The preparation method was mild and easy and does not produce any chemical modification. The dispersions, which exhibit the Tyndall effect, were characterized by TEM and Raman spectroscopy to confirm the presence of few-layer graphene. Concentrations as high as 0.66 and 8.00 mg/ml were found for PhTES and GPTMS, respectively. The latter is one of the highest values reported for a dispersion of graphene obtained by any method. This finding paves the way for the direct synthesis of polymer nanofiller-containing composites consisting of graphene and reactive silanes to be used in sol–gel synthesis, without any need for solvent removal, thus preventing graphene reaggregation to form graphite flakes.

Keywords:
Graphene; Organosilanes; High concentration; Liquid exfoliation