Nanostructuring graphene for controlled and reproducible functionalization
The ‘graphene rush’ that started almost a decade ago is far from over. The dazzling properties of graphene have long warranted a number of applications in various domains of science and technology. Harnessing the exceptional properties of graphene for practical applications however has proved to be a massive task. Apart from the challenges associated with the large-scale production of the material, the intrinsic zero band gap, the inherently low reactivity and solubility of pristine graphene preclude its use in several high- as well as low-end applications. One of the potential solutions to these problems is the surface functionalization of graphene using organic building blocks. The ‘surface-only’ nature of graphene allows the manipulation of its properties not only by covalent chemical modification but also via non-covalent interactions with organic molecules. Significant amount of research efforts have been directed towards the development of functionalization protocols for modifying the structural, electronic, and chemical properties of graphene. This feature article provides a glimpse of recent progress in the molecular functionalization of surface supported graphene using non-covalent as well as covalent chemistry.