Liquid crystallinity and dimensions of surfactant-stabilized sheets of reduced graphene oxide
Graphene oxide (GO) flakes dissolved in water can spontaneously form liquid crystals. Liquid crystallinity presents an opportunity to process graphene materials into macroscopic assemblies with long-range ordering, but most graphene electronic functionalities are lost in oxidation treatments. Reduction of GO allows recovering functionalities and makes reduced graphene oxide (RGO) of greater interest. Unfortunately, chemical reduction of GO generally results in the aggregation of the flakes, with no liquid crystallinity observed. We report in the present work liquid crystals made of RGO. The addition of surfactants in appropriate conditions is used to stabilize the RGO flakes against aggregation maintaining their ability to form water-based liquid crystals. Structural and thermodynamical studies allow the dimensions of the flakes to be deduced. It is found that the thickness and diameter of RGO flakes are close to that of neat GO flakes.