Synthesis of diamine functionalised graphene oxide and its application in the fabrication of electrically conducting reduced graphene oxide/polymer nanocomposite films†
The focus of research in diamine functionalised graphene oxide (GO) has been limited to the use of diamines either as crosslinker or to achieve simultaneous functionalisation, reduction and stitching of GO sheets, especially in the case of ethylene diamine (EDA). Controlling the extent of stitching and functionalisation has to date remained a challenge. In particular, synthesis of colloidally stable monofunctionalised GO–NH2 with dangling amine groups using diamines has remained elusive. This has been the limiting factor towards the utility of EDA functionalised GO (GO–NH2) in the field of polymer-based nanocomposites. We have synthesised colloidally stable GO–NH2 with dangling amine groups and subsequently demonstrated its utility as a surfactant to synthesize colloidally stable waterborne polymer nanoparticles with innate affinity to undergo film formation at room temperature. Thermally annealed dropcast polymer/GO–NH2 nanocomposite films exhibited low surface roughness (∼1 μm) due to the homogeneous distribution of functionalised GO sheets within the polymer matrix as observed from confocal laser scanning microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The films exhibited considerable electrical conductivity (∼0.8 S m−1), demonstrating the potential of the GO–NH2/polymer nanocomposite for a wide range of applications.