Microwave-assisted shock synthesis of diverse ultrathin graphene-derived materials
A paradigm shift is happening in graphene-related research from fundamental studies to the mass production and uptake of the materials into practical applications. Controlled conversion of the single-layer, pre-oxidised form of graphene is a promising pathway for the large-scale synthesis of graphene-like materials and derivatives. In this work, we report a strategy based on solid-state, shock reaction enabled by microwave-induced plasma for the ultrafast conversion of graphene oxide to ultrathin, defective carbon platelets, without pre-heating or use of any form of “catalyst”. This strategy is versatile, allowing instantaneous embedment of ultrafine, uniformly dispersed metal/metal-alloy nanoparticles into the carbon, featuring various nanostructures, from “core–shell” to “hollow”. The synthesised metal nanoparticle embedded 2D carbon can be directly used as a catalyst that shows enhanced water oxidation activity. Controlled doping of heteroatoms, i.e. nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus, in the carbon is also demonstrated. This approach is simple and robust, potentially suitable for the mass production of a collection of new carbon-based materials with intriguing properties.