Elucidation of the structural transformations in graphene oxide (GO) upon reduction remains an active and important area of research. We report the results of in situ heating experiments, during which electrical, mass spectrometry, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Raman spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) measurements were carried out correlatively. The simultaneous electrical and temperature programmed desorption measurements allowed us to correlate the onset of the increase in the electrical conductivity of GO by five orders of magnitude at about 150 °C with the maxima of the rates of desorption of H2O, CO, and CO2. Interestingly, this large conductivity change happens at an intermediate level of the reduction of GO, which likely corresponds to the point when the graphitic domains become large enough to enable percolative electronic transport. We demonstrate that the gas desorption is intimately related to (i) the changes in the chemical structure of GO detected by XPS and Raman spectroscopy and (ii) the formation of nanoscopic holes in GO sheets revealed by TEM. These in situ observations provide a better understanding of the mechanism of the GO thermal reduction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)