• 1 Enhanced Composites and Structures Center, School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing, Cranfield University, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, United Kingdom
  • 2 TCM Group, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, 19 JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 0HE, United Kingdom
  • 3 Bioinformatique Structurale, Institut Pasteur, CNRS URA 3528, CB3I CNRS USR 3756, Paris, 75724, France
  • 4 Faculty of Chemistry, Silesian University of Technology, Krzywoustego 4, Gliwice, 44-100, Poland
  • 5 Department of Fundamental and Applied Sciences, UniversIti Teknologi PETRONAS, 32610 Seri Iskandar, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia
Adv. Mater. Weinheim, 2020 Aug;32(34):e2000608.
PMID: 32672882 DOI: 10.1002/adma.202000608


The fundamental colloidal properties of pristine graphene flakes remain incompletely understood, with conflicting reports about their chemical character, hindering potential applications that could exploit the extraordinary electronic, thermal, and mechanical properties of graphene. Here, the true amphipathic nature of pristine graphene flakes is demonstrated through wet-chemistry testing, optical microscopy, electron microscopy, and density functional theory, molecular dynamics, and Monte Carlo calculations, and it is shown how this fact paves the way for the formation of ultrastable water/oil emulsions. In contrast to commonly used graphene oxide flakes, pristine graphene flakes possess well-defined hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions: the basal plane and edges, respectively, the interplay of which allows small flakes to be utilized as stabilizers with an amphipathic strength that depends on the edge-to-surface ratio. The interactions between flakes can be also controlled by varying the oil-to-water ratio. In addition, it is predicted that graphene flakes can be efficiently used as a new-generation stabilizer that is active under high pressure, high temperature, and in saline solutions, greatly enhancing the efficiency and functionality of applications based on this material.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.