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Controlled Sonication as a Route to in-situ Graphene Flake Size Control

Turner, Piers, Hodnett, Mark, Dorey, Robert and Carey, J. David (2019) Controlled Sonication as a Route to in-situ Graphene Flake Size Control Scientific Reports, 9, 8710. pp. 1-8.

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Ultrasonication is widely used to exfoliate two dimensional (2D) van der Waals layered materials such as graphene. Its fundamental mechanism, inertial cavitation, is poorly understood and often ignored in ultrasonication strategies resulting in low exfoliation rates, low material yields and wide flake size distributions, making the graphene dispersions produced by ultrasonication less economically viable. Here we report that few-layer graphene yields of up to 18% in three hours can be achieved by optimising inertial cavitation dose during ultrasonication. We demonstrate that inertial cavitation preferentially exfoliates larger flakes and that the graphene exfoliation rate and flake dimensions are strongly correlated with, and therefore can be controlled by, inertial cavitation dose. Furthermore, inertial cavitation is shown to preferentially exfoliate larger graphene flakes which causes the exfoliation rate to decrease as a function of sonication time. This study demonstrates that measurement and control of inertial cavitation is critical in optimising the high yield sonication-assisted aqueous liquid phase exfoliation of size-selected nanomaterials. Future development of this method should lead to the development of high volume flow cell production of 2D van der Waals layered nanomaterials.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Electronic Engineering
Authors :
Hodnett, Mark
Carey, J. David
Date : 18 June 2019
Funders : Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), University of Surrey
DOI : 10.1038/s41598-019-45059-5
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2019. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 24 Jun 2019 07:46
Last Modified : 24 Jun 2019 07:50

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