Is carboxylation an efficient method for graphene oxide functionalization?†
Graphene oxide (GO) is one of the most popular materials applied in different research areas thanks to its unique properties. The application of GO requires well-designed protocols to introduce different functionalities on its surface, exploiting the oxygenated groups already present. Due to the complex and unstable chemical environment on the GO surface, it is recommended to perform the functionalization under mild conditions. The carboxylation of GO is a widely used method to introduce additional carboxylic acids, which could be further modified through amidation or esterification reactions. The strategy already reported in the literature requires harsh conditions (excess amount of sodium hydroxide). GO is readily reduced under basic conditions, but the reduction of GO during the carboxylation is barely studied. In this work, we performed the carboxylation using chloroacetic acid with different amounts of sodium hydroxide and characterized the functionalized GO with various techniques. The carboxylated GO was exploited to develop a double functionalization approach combining an epoxide ring opening reaction and an amidation. The results showed that strong basic conditions were necessary to derivatize GO. Nevertheless, these conditions resulted in a partial reduction of GO and some functionalities on GO were removed during the reaction, thus reducing the total efficiency of the functionalization in comparison to an epoxide ring opening reaction, indicating that carboxylation is not an efficient approach for the functionalization of GO.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Chemistry of 2D materials: graphene and beyond