An effective non-covalent grafting approach to functionalize individually dispersed reduced graphene oxide sheets with high grafting density, solubility and electrical conductivity
Polymer-functionalized reduced graphene oxide (polymer-FG), produced as individually dispersed graphene sheets, offers new possibilities for the production of nanomaterials that are useful for a broad range of potential applications. Although non-covalent functionalization has produced graphene with good dispersibility and a relatively complete conjugated network, there are few reports related to the effective functionalization of reduced graphene oxide (RGO) using a simple, general method. Herein, we report a facile and effective approach for the preparation of polymer-FG from a non-covalently functionalized pyrene-terminal polymer in benzoyl alcohol (BnOH). This aromatic alcohol (BnOH) was used as the liquid medium for the dispersion of graphene oxide (GO) with a pyrene-terminal polymer, and as an effective reductant; this makes the synthesis procedure convenient and the production of polymer-FG easily scalable because the conversion of GO to RGO and the non-covalent functionalization proceed simultaneously. The resulting polymer-FG sheets show organo-dispersibility, high electrical conductivity and good processability, and have a similar grafting density comparable to covalently made materials, thus making them promising candidates for applications such as electrochemical devices, nanomaterials and polymer nanocomposites. Hence, this work provides a general methodology for preparing individually dispersed graphene sheets with desirable properties.