Metal oxide nanoparticle growth on graphene via chemical activation with atomic oxygen

James E. Johns, Justice M.P. Alaboson, Sameer Patwardhan, Christopher R. Ryder, George C. Schatz, Mark C. Hersam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Chemically interfacing the inert basal plane of graphene with other materials has limited the development of graphene-based catalysts, composite materials, and devices. Here, we overcome this limitation by chemically activating epitaxial graphene on SiC(0001) using atomic oxygen. Atomic oxygen produces epoxide groups on graphene, which act as reactive nucleation sites for zinc oxide nanoparticle growth using the atomic layer deposition precursor diethyl zinc. In particular, exposure of epoxidized graphene to diethyl zinc abstracts oxygen, creating mobile species that diffuse on the surface to form metal oxide clusters. This mechanism is corroborated with a combination of scanning probe microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and density functional theory and can likely be generalized to a wide variety of related surface reactions on graphene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18121-18125
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number48
StatePublished - Dec 4 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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