22 March 2012
Graphene produced from microorganisms in river
Researchers have developed an innovative method for producing high quality graphene by reducing oxide flakes using easily extractable microorganisms from a river. The technique paves the way for large scale production of graphene.
Currently, the chemical reduction of graphene oxide (GO) flakes is the preferred choice for mass production. Notably, the critical stage of reducing GO flakes into the 2D layers of carbon involves exposure of the GO to hydrazine. However, this reduction process limits the potential for large scale production, mainly because the vapour is highly toxic.
The new method has been developed by the Toyohashi Tech Graphene Research Group and was inspired by a recent report that graphene oxide behaves as a terminal electron acceptor for bacteria. This revealed that the GO is reduced by microbial action in the process of breathing or electron transport. The team from Toyohashi adopted a hybrid approach, where chemically derived graphene oxide flakes were reduced by readily available microorganisms extracted from a nearby river bank. According to the researchers, Raman scattering measurements showed that the GO flakes had indeed been reduced.
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