Graphene is the strongest material to ever exist. With a single layer of carbon atoms, this material is two hundred times stronger than steel, flexible. Apart from being lighter than paper, graphene beats copper when it comes to conducting electricity. Graphene oxide is an oxidized form of graphene. It is used in various applications today as you’re about to discover by the time you finish reading this article.
Applications of graphene oxide today
Graphene oxide is used in rechargeable batteries. The high surface area of graphene oxide material is necessary for the high capacity of the materials in the batteries. The presence of oxygen on the surface of graphene oxide allows active bonding of electrochemical materials. Despite tuning of electrical properties of graphene oxide by altering oxygen-rich compounds, the anodes of graphene have limited cycling capacity. This is because of solid electrolyte interphase formation and Li-ions reacting with oxygen functional groups.
Graphene oxide is successfully applied in cathode materials for rating lithium-ion battery capability and improving cycle stability. Additionally, graphene oxide in lithium-sulfur batteries allows building high energy capacity. Immobilization of lithium polysulphides and sulfur on graphene oxide material happens with the presence of functional groups on the structure of graphene oxide. The interaction allows creating stable cycling exceeding 50 deep cycles and a high reversible capacity of about 950–1400 mAh g-1.
Applications for sensing gas use graphene oxide. Its high surface area and active surface make graphene oxide have exceptional sensing abilities. Sensors that rely on cuprous oxide and graphene oxide are applied in sensing trimethylamine gas. Some of the great reasons to purchase graphene powder include 60-day reversibility, selectivity, and great sensitivity. Graphene oxide is utilized in sensors for humidity, nitrogen dioxide, and hydrogen.
The food industry today has fresh standards that should be maintained. These include waterproof packaging that won’t break or make food deteriorate during transport and storage. The use of graphene oxide enhances breathability, UV blocking, and anti-microbial activity in food packaging. Combining graphene oxide Nanosheets and gelatin-based polymers allows creating food packaging that allows safe handling and transport. Besides, the packaging is biodegradable and effective at preventing exposure of food to bacteria such as S. aureus and E. coli.
Water filtration and treatment
Water is a precious natural resource that needs intelligent use and maintenance of supplies. one of the modern methods to preserve the water available is the use of graphene oxide in treatment and filtration. Graphene oxide has the potential to eliminate bacteria and other contaminants from the water. In fact, the use of graphene oxide in filtration has the potential of making use of seawater for drinking fast and simple.
This material naturally repels water but when having narrow pores, water permeates rapidly during desalination and filtration. Water molecules go through but contaminants and substances remain. The small size and weight of graphene make it environmentally friendly and energy-efficient during water desalination and filtration. Thin graphene oxide membranes are impermeable to vapors and gases.
Graphene oxide has a large specific surface area which is an attractive property for use in solar cells. The exceptional semiconducting features of graphene oxide offer an effective interfacial layer for organic photovoltaic applications. Graphene oxide increases the durability of solar cells by enhancing the stability of the active interfacial layer when under environmental and thermal stress. Additionally, dye-sensitized solar cells rely on a combination of graphene oxide with other counter electrodes.
Separation of membrane performance and enhancing properties of membranes rely on the porous structure and chemically active nature of graphene oxide. Separation applications of applications involving oxygen and nitrogen or carbon dioxide and nitrogen require graphene oxide polymer composites. The presence of graphene oxide in the membrane structure enhances its mechanical properties.
Field-effect transistor, optical and electrochemical biosensors rely on graphene oxide composites. The composites contain metal nanoparticles including silver and platinum or polymers. This allows wide exploitation of biocompatible graphene oxide in various applications involving sensing biomolecules including:
DNA/ RNA aptamers
Arbitrary DNA mutations
Graphene oxide material has a fluorescent behavior appropriate for biosensing applications for detection of various biomolecules including dopamine, food toxins, biomarkers glucose, metal ions, and cancer.
Exceptional biocompatibility and DNA absorption allow using graphene oxide in various biomedical applications. The bind between graphene oxide and DNA is reversible and very stable. So, various bio-applications such as drug delivery rely on preparing DNA-based graphene oxide materials such as Nanosheets. These have very limited potential for cytotoxicity with high cellular uptake to support use as Nanocarriers to deliver drugs efficiently.
Materials with graphene oxide are also ideal in photothermal therapy and diagnostic applications. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease requires us of hybrid plasmonic-magnetic multi-functional Nano platforms with graphene oxide. Therapeutic applications such as ultra-efficient photothermal cancer therapy rely on a combination of graphene oxide and gold nanostars.
Graphene is a wonder material of modern times. Harnessing the power of its variants such as graphene oxide supports the future of mankind. This is beneficial in various applications in the modern world such as water filtration and power storage.