Getting Graphene into Organic Chemistry
Despite being made of carbon, graphene is not very reactive, but that will not stop scientists from trying things. Researchers at Rice University used a lithographic technique to convert areas on a piece of graphene into graphane, which hydrogen atoms will attach to. With the hydrogen attached, fluorophore is deposited on the entire sheet. Fluorophore will normally fluoresce, but graphene prevents the process to do so. Graphane does not though, so when the sheet was looked at using fluorescence quenching microscopy (FQM) Rice’s Owl mascot was looking back at the researchers.
The researchers next subjected the sheets to diazonium salts, which will attack and the carbon-hydrogen bonds. The salts left behind a new bond though, which allows for more oganic functions to be performed on the graphene-graphane hybrid sheet. It may be years before a device can be made to use this, but such devices will be able to perform almost all organic chemistry a scientist would want.