Graphene oxide as a two-dimensional surfactant

Andrew R. Koltonow*, Jaemyung Kim, Laura J. Cote, Jiayan Luo, Jiaxing Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Graphene oxide (GO) is a nonstoichiometric two-dimensional material obtained from the chemical oxidation and exfoliation of graphite, which has recently attracted intense research interest as a precursor for bulk production of graphene. GO has long been believed to be hydrophilic due to its dispersibility in water. Recent work in our group, however, has found that GO is actually a two-dimensional amphiphile; the edge of the sheet-like material is hydrophilic, while the basal plane of the material contains more hydrophobic graphitic nanodomains. To prove the concept, we demonstrate GO's surface activity at an air-water interface, as well as its utility in dispersing insoluble aromatic materials such as toluene, graphite, and carbon nanotubes in water. As a colloidal surfactant which can be converted to a conducting material, GO presents unique possibilities for aqueous solution processing of organic electronic materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFunctional Two-Dimensional Layered Materials - From Graphene to Topological Insulators
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2012
Event2011 MRS Spring Meeting - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Apr 25 2011Apr 29 2011

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0272-9172


Other2011 MRS Spring Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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