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Tunable Photoluminescence From Graphene Oxide.

Chih-Tao Chien, S. Li, Wei-Jung Lai, Yun-Chieh Yeh, Hsin-An Chen, I. Chen, L. Chen, K. Chen, T. Nemoto, S. Isoda, Mingwei Chen, T. Fujita, G. Eda, H. Yamaguchi, M. Chhowalla, C. Chen
Published 2012 · Materials Science, Medicine

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Graphene oxide (GO) is a graphene sheet modified with oxygen functional groups in the form of epoxy and hydroxy groups on the basal plane and various other types at the edges. It exhibits interesting steady-state photoluminescence (PL) properties. For example, low-energy fluorescence in red to near infrared (NIR) wavelengths (from 600– 1100 nm) has been detected for suspensions and solid thin films of as-synthesized GO. 3] In addition, broad luminescence from 400 to 800 nm from oxygen plasma-treated, mechanically exfoliated, single-layer graphene sheet has been reported. Blue fluorescence with a relatively narrow bandwidth when excited with UV irradiation has also been detected from chemically reduced GO (rGO) and graphene quantum dots. 6] Recently, chemically modified GO or rGO with n-butylamine or Mn has also demonstrated PL emission at a range of energies. 10] A detailed explanation of the origin of such variable energy PL in GO has yet to be elucidated. This is partly because the sample preparation and reduction methods varied, making it difficult to compare the results. Herein, we have prepared GO suspensions that exhibit virtually all of the PL features observed by different groups, through careful and gradual reduction of the GO. The systematic evolution of the electronic structure and comprehensive analysis of steady-state and transient PL along with photoluminescence excitation (PLE) spectroscopy measurements indicate that two different types of electronically excited states are responsible for the observed emission characteristics. GO was synthesized using the modified Hummers method, the details of which have been reported. GO usually contains a large fraction of sp hybridized carbon atoms bound to oxygen functional groups, which makes it an insulator. Reduction can be achieved chemically (e.g. hydrazine exposure) or by thermal annealing in inert environments. Photothermal reduction of GO can be achieved by exposing GO samples to a Xenon flash in ambient conditions. In this study, we prepared aqueous GO solutions and subjected them to steady-state Xe lamp irradiation (500 W) with different exposure times of up to three hours. In contrast to reduction by an instantaneous flash, this method provides a controllable, gradual transformation from GO to rGO, allowing exploration of the PL evolution and emission mechanisms from as-synthesized GO to rGO. The deoxygenation of GO after reduction was confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), as shown in Figure 1. The C 1s signals of the original GO can be deconvoluted into signals for the C=C bond in aromatic rings (284.6 eV), C O bond (286.1 eV), C=O bond (287.5 eV), and C(=O) OH bond (289.2 eV), in agreement with previous assignments. Increased sp carbon bonding with increased reduction time can be clearly measured, which
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