High-quality graphene sheets decorated with ZIF-8 nanocrystals

Theodore Tsoufis*, Christos Tampaxis, Ioannis Spanopoulos, Theodore Steriotis, Fotios Katsaros, Georgia Charalambopoulou, Pantelis N. Trikalitis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Excellent-quality graphene sheets produced via the direct liquid phase exfoliation of highly crystalline graphite (avoiding any oxidative treatment), were employed for the first time as 2D scaffolds for the in-situ synthesis of zeolitic-imidazolate-framework (ZIF-8) material. Our synthetic approach involved the efficient, urea-assisted exfoliation of natural graphite (without using any acids), and the subsequent selective, mild functionalization of the resulting high-quality graphene sheets with benzoic acid functional groups. The graphene derivatives were next decorated via the in-situ development of ultrasmall (approx. 30 nm) ZIF-8 nanocrystals. We discuss the critical role of the functionalized graphene to the selective nucleation and crystal growth of ZIF-8 nanocrystals exclusively at their surface. In-depth gas sorption studies of different gases revealed that the novel ZIF-8@Graph nano-composites exhibited improved porosity (in terms of surface area and pore volume) compared to analogous Graphene Oxide/ZIF-8 hybrids. In addition, the gate effect of the ZIF-8 nanocrystals anchored onto the high-quality graphene, was found very different compared to bulk ZIF-8, a behavior that is attributed mainly to the significantly smaller crystal size and the perfect 2D confinement of ZIF-8 along graphene. Finally, preliminary CO2 adsorption properties of the synthesized novel nano-composites are reported, at near ambient temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalMicroporous and Mesoporous Materials
StatePublished - May 15 2018


  • Gate effect
  • Graphene
  • High surface area
  • Nanocomposite materials
  • Nanocrystals
  • Zeolitic imidazolate framework
  • ZIF-8

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials


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