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Langmuir. 2010 Jun 15;26(12):10068-75. doi: 10.1021/la1001978.

Synthesis, characterization, and multilayer assembly of pH sensitive graphene-polymer nanocomposites.

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  • 1Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design, School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.


pH sensitive graphene-polymer composites have been prepared by the modification of graphene basal planes with pyrene-terminated poly(2-N,N'-(dimethyl amino ethyl acrylate) (PDMAEA) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) via pi-pi stacking. The pyrene-terminal PDMAEA and PAA were synthesized using reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization with a pyrene-functional RAFT agent. The graphene-polymer composites were found to demonstrate phase transfer behavior between aqueous and organic media at different pH values. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) analysis revealed that the thicknesses of the graphene-polymer sheets were approximately 3.0 nm when prepared using PDMAEA (M(n): 6800 and PDI: 1.12). The surface coverage of polymer chains on the graphene basal plane was calculated to be 5.3 x 10(-11) mol cm(-2) for PDMAEA and 1.3 x 10(-10) mol cm(-2) for PAA. The graphene-polymer composites were successfully characterized using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), attenuated total reflection infrared (ATR-IR) spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Self-assembly of the two oppositely charged graphene-polymer composites afforded layer-by-layer (LbL) structures as evidenced by high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) measurements.

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