Low-Cost and Simple Method for Graphene Synthesis

Authored by: Isaiah Owusu Gyan , Haoyu Zhu , I. Francis Cheng

Graphene Science Handbook

Print publication date:  April  2016
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781466591233
eBook ISBN: 9781466591240
Adobe ISBN:


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In the search for a low-cost and simple method for synthesis of graphene, a closely related material, GUITAR (graphenic/graphitic material from the University of Idaho Thermolyzed Asphalt Reaction), was discovered. The synthetic method is inexpensive, simple, rapid, and low temperature (600–800°C), and does not require a crystalline template. Starting materials include any organic with boiling and melting points between 80°C and 180°C, and sulfur, either in its elemental form or as a compound. Other starting materials have included roofing tars, and food products. The final products have visual and microscopic characteristics that are similar to other forms of graphene and graphite in that all are atomically flat and have layered 2D morphologies, yet recent results indicate that GUITAR has different chemical and physical characteristics. GUITAR, from all starting materials, shares the same physical features. Raman spectroscopy indicates that GUITAR has more structural disorder in each plane than either graphene or most graphites. The grains are nanocrystalline (La = 5 nm) as indicated by the D and G bands at 1354 and 1594 cm−1, respectively, and ID/IG = 0.93. All GUITAR electrodes share excellent electron transfer characteristics. This is in contrast with ordered graphites and graphene (La = 100–1000 microns) electrodes. These studies strongly suggest that disorder gives unrecognized beneficial properties that sets itself apart from graphene and ordered graphites. On the basis of GUITAR’s wide potential windows and facile electron transfer kinetics, proposed applications which include water purification, ultracapacitors, and redox flow batteries are discussed.

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