Graphene Oxide research has come a long way as more studies into this compounds capabilities continue to be conducted. Graphene Oxide (GO) is incredibly inexpensive to produce and its future properties were once unknown. However, the science community now believes GO can be used in a multitude of ways in medicine, electronics, and even energy storage.
What Is Graphene Oxide?
Graphene Oxide is an oxidized form of Graphene. Bonded carbon atoms in a repeating hexagonal pattern create an incredibly thin graphene sheet. These graphene sheets are incredibly conductive, super strong, yet also light and transparent. This makes graphene an excellent material found in many applications from machine parts to even medicine. The only drawback is Graphene is incredibly expensive and can be laborious to produce. This means applying it in everyday or disposal objects doesn’t make much sense because its market value is so high. The solution? GO! When strengthened oxidizing agents are added to graphite it expands and separates the layers and creates GO. This procedure is not only incredibly easy to reproduce, but it also makes the GO hydrophilic (meaning it’s easily dispersible in water). This allows GO to be used as a coating for some objects as it can be applied in powder, flake, or sheet forms, it also grants the opportunity to create a Graphene structure.
Graphene Oxide & Biomedicine
It’s unusual to think that a material found in the same thing that pencils are made of could be used in the biomedical field, but current day research is making its use more abundant. Not only is GO easy to use in water, it is also fluorescent and has a very low toxicity. This makes GO the perfect substance to us for bio-sensing or disease detection. GO can be absorbed by many anticancer drugs. It’s fluorescence allows it to be easily seen so targeting specific cancer cells in the body with laced GO drugs is a far easier and more effective process as it will only target tumours and won’t react at all to healthy cells. Vice versa, GO can also be used to efficiently detect diseases, by combining it with folic acid systems can be put in place to detect cervical and breast cancers cells.
More recently, GO has been used to combat bacteria on medical devices themselves. GO sheets grafted to reactive organic membranes can spawn antimicrobial activity. Depending on the surface, GO can retain its physical properties very well and create an anti-bacterial layer which will nullify bacteria. Due to its water premenance this makes it exceptional hospitals or labs in humid areas of the world.
Graphene Oxide & Electronics
GO has a low electrical conductivity, but that makes it very useful for smaller applications. For example electronic devices such as Field-effect transistor based with GO can utilize it’s unwanted molecule finding properties and work as chemical sensors or biosensors.
When combined with various polymers, Graphite Oxide can be used to create a conductive and translucent film. Because Graphite Oxide is naturally very malleable it can stretch over long lengths of this film as well. This makes it an essential part of most modern day electronics. Because of its flexibility objects touch screen and smart devices, solar cells, and LCD displays. Because it’s ability to be used as a liquid solvent, GO can also be used as a conductive coating. Such coatings can be utilized for LED’s, solar panels, or other light conducting machinery.
Because GO is incredibly affordable and manipulatable purchasing some for yourself for your own research or use is incredibly safe and easy.
Graphene Oxide & Energy Storage
As mentioned prior, GO’s electrical and malleable properties make it an excellent resource for use in electronic equipment. The same can be said for its utility in energy storage. Because it’s relatively inexpensive GO makes for a great anode in disposable batteries and solar cells which will let them charge better and last longer. In a solid state GO can be made into tiny flakes. These flakes naturally attach to one another and can create an extremely stable yet foldable conductive paper-like substance with a large surface area. This makes GO a terrific material for the use of supercapacitor manufacturing as they’re able to store large quantities of electricity and are able to charge relatively fast. Due to their ability to be used in humid conditions GO is now being used in some underground hydrogen storage solutions. In addition, it’s ability to work in moist conditions also make it an ideal element in nanofiltration methods for surface and groundwater.
With the onslaught of environmental reports and the desire to shift from natural to electronic fuelled vehicles, easy to produce and inexpensive to make GO is finding its way in many lithium ion batteries that are used in smart cars. Since most smart devices are rapidly advancing almost yearly, GO is also finding its way into many of the lithium ion batteries that are used in smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Further research into GO and its subsidiaries (such as reduced graphene oxide) is still being conducted. Although thin and strong the longevity of GO still needs to be understood. However it’s affordable price and ease of production mean that quality and quantifiable research can be easily done. Right now GO is expected to be used in water filtration practices which can aid developing nations and create a greener future.