Are vacuum-filtrated reduced graphene oxide membranes symmetric?†
Graphene or reduced graphene oxide (rGO) membrane-based materials are promising for many advanced applications due to their exceptional properties. One of the most widely used synthesis methods for rGO membranes is vacuum filtration of graphene oxide (GO) on a filter membrane, followed by reduction, which shows great advantages such as operational convenience and good controllability. Despite vacuum-filtrated rGO membranes being widely used in many applications, a fundamental question is overlooked: are the top and bottom surfaces of the membranes formed at the interfaces with air and with the filter membrane respectively symmetric or asymmetric? This work, for the first time, reports the asymmetry of the vacuum-filtrated rGO membranes and discloses the filter membranes’ physical imprint on the bottom surface of the rGO membrane, which takes place when the filter membrane surface pores have similar dimension to GO sheets. This result points out that the asymmetric surface properties should be cautiously taken into consideration while designing the surface-related applications for GO and rGO membranes.