Organic solvent-based graphene oxide liquid crystals: A facile route toward the next generation of self-assembled layer-by-layer multifunctional 3D architectures
We introduce soft self-assembly of ultralarge liquid crystalline (LC) graphene oxide (GO) sheets in a wide range of organic solvents overcoming the practical limitations imposed on LC GO processing in water. This expands the number of known solvents which can support amphiphilic self-assembly to ethanol, acetone, tetrahydrofuran, N-dimethylformamide, N-cyclohexyl-2-pyrrolidone, and a number of other organic solvents, many of which were not known to afford solvophobic self-assembly prior to this report. The LC behavior of the as-prepared GO sheets in organic solvents has enabled us to disperse and organize substantial amounts of aggregate-free single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs, up to 10 wt %) without compromise in LC properties. The as-prepared LC GO-SWNT dispersions were employed to achieve self-assembled layer-by-layer multifunctional 3D hybrid architectures comprising SWNTs and GO with unrivalled superior mechanical properties (Young's modulus in excess of 50 GPa and tensile strength of more than 500 MPa). 2013 American Chemical Society.