Facile room temperature synthesis of large graphene sheets from simple molecules†
The largest graphene sample obtained through a chemical reaction under ambient conditions (temperature and pressure), using simple molecules such as benzene or n-hexane as precursors, is reported. Starting from a heterogeneous reaction between solid iron chloride and the molecular precursor (benzene and n-hexane) at a water/oil interface, graphene sheets with micrometric lateral size are obtained as a film deposited at the liquid/liquid (L/L) interface. The pathway involving the cyclization and aromatization of n-hexane to benzene at the L/L interface, and the sequence of conversion of benzene to biphenyl and biphenyl to condensed rings (which originates the graphene structures) was followed by different characterization techniques and a mechanistic proposal is presented. Finally, we demonstrate that this route can be extended for the synthesis of N-doped graphene, using pyridine as the molecular precursor.