Article last updated on: Apr 17, 2019

Graphene, a 2D sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a chicken wire pattern, is a fascinating material that boasts many exciting properties like mechanical strength, thermal and electrical conductivity, intriguing optical properties and more. Graphene is the focus of vigorous R&D, but its relatively high price is a hindrance at the moment.

Graphene to GO image

Graphene oxide is a form of graphene that includes oxygen functional groups, and has interesting properties that can be different than those of graphene. By reducing graphene oxide, these oxidized functional groups are removed, to obtain a graphene material. This graphene material is called reduced graphene oxide, often abbreviated to rGO. rGO can also be obtained from graphite oxide, a material made of many layers of graphene oxide, after a series of reduction to graphene oxide and then to rGO.

GO to rGO scheme image

How is rGO produced?

Since effective yet inexpensive ways to make graphene (or closely related materials, such as rGO) are being intensively sought for, the reduction of graphene oxide (or graphite oxide) to rGO is popular and attractive. Several methods of reduction into rGO exist, and are rather cost-efficient and simple.

While rGO is indeed a form of graphene with properties similar to that of graphene (good conductive properties etc.), rGO usually contains more defects and is of lesser quality than graphene produced directly from graphite. Reduced graphene oxide (rGO) contains residual oxygen and other heteroatoms, as well as structural defects. Despite rGO’s less-than-perfect resemblance to pristine graphene, it is still an appealing material that can definitely be sufficient in quality for various applications, but for more attractive pricing and manufacturing processes. Reduced graphene oxide can be used (depending on the specific material’s quality) for the same various applications suitable for graphene use, like composite materials, conductive inks, sensors and more.

Reduced GO is often a natural and understandable choice for applications that call for large amounts of material due to the relative ease in creating sufficient quantities of graphene in a relatively low cost.

The process of reducing graphene oxide to produce reduced graphene oxide is extremely important as it has a large impact on the quality of the rGO produced, and therefore will determine how close rGO will come, in terms of structure and properties, to pristine graphene.

A number of processes exist for the reduction of GO, based on chemical, thermal or electrochemical approaches. Some of these techniques are able to produce very high quality rGO, similar to high-quality graphene, but can be complex, expensive or time consuming to carry out.

Once reduced graphene oxide has been produced, there are ways to functionalize the material for specific use in different applications. By treating rGO with various chemicals or by creating new compounds by combining rGO with other two-dimensional materials, it’s possible to enhance the properties of the compound to suit commercial applications.

rGO powder image

In some applications, the reduction of the GO to rGO is performed as part of the device manufacturing process. For example, a process could start with GO, mix it with a material to create a composite, and reduce the GO into rGO as part of the composite creation process or afterwards.

rGO Applications

In general, it can be said that rGO is suitable for the same sorts of applications as graphene, as the properties of these materials are similar, albeit normally less impressive at the rGO end. As was said before, the properties of rGO can vary depending on the method of preparation and the resulting morphology and chemistry of the specific rGO.

Reduced GO can be used for many applications, among these are: energy storage, composite materials, field effect transistors and more.

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The latest reduced graphene oxide news:

Tirupati Graphite starts operations at Graphene & Technology Centre in India

Tirupati Graphite has commissioned Stage 1 of the Tirupati graphene and mintech research center (TGMRC) in India. Tirupati says this marks the start of revenue generation at TGMRC and allows the company to advance commercialization engagements.

In Stage 1, the facility can initially produce up to 1 kilogram per day – of graphene oxide ('GO'), reduced graphene oxide ('rGO') and aluminium graphene composite – via the zero-chemical process developed by the company. Ongoing development and expansion of the facility will enable up to 10 kgs per day.

Merck and Inbrain Neuroelectronics collaborate on graphene-based bioelectronic therapy technology

Major pharma company Merck has announced a collaboration agreement with Innervia Bioelectronics, a start-up and subsidiary of Inbrain Neuroelectronics S.L., Barcelona, Spain. The aim of the collaboration is to co-develop the next generation of graphene-based bioelectronic vagus nerve therapies targeting severe chronic diseases within the therapeutic areas addressed by Merck.

“We aim to accelerate developments in the emerging field of bioelectronics by boosting the novel modality of selective neurostimulation,” said Laura Matz, Chief Science and Technology Officer of Merck. “Today’s agreement with Innervia Bioelectronics gives Merck access to a unique technology that increases energy efficiency in neurostimulators and could therefore become a true enabler for digital personalized treatment of patients suffering from severe and chronic diseases such as inflammatory disorders.”

New rGO-based material could improve energy storage devices and supercapacitors

Researchers from Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU), along with collaborators from the University of Lille in France, have synthesized a new material, based on reduced graphene oxide (rGO), for energy storage devices and supercapacitors.

Researchers design rGO-based electrode materials for high-performance symmetric supercapacitor image

The rGO modification technique that involves the use of organic molecules, derivatives of hypervalent iodine, reportedly enabled acquiring a material that is capable of storing 1.7 times more electrical energy.

Stretchable and ultrasensitive NO2 sensors based on rGO and MOS2 nanocomposites

Researchers at Penn State, Northeastern University and five universities in China have developed and tested a stretchable, wearable gas sensor for environmental sensing.

Stretchable, ultrasensitive, and low-temperature NO2 sensors based on MoS2@rGO nanocomposites image

The sensor combines a newly developed laser-induced graphene foam material with a unique form of molybdenum disulfide and reduced-graphene oxide nanocomposites. The researchers were interested in seeing how different morphologies of the gas-sensitive nanocomposites affect the sensitivity of the material to detecting nitrogen dioxide molecules at very low concentration. To change the morphology, they packed a container with very finely ground salt crystals.