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Nat Mater. 2013 Oct;12(10):925-31. doi: 10.1038/nmat3709. Epub 2013 Jul 21.

Effect of airborne contaminants on the wettability of supported graphene and graphite.

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  • 11] Department of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA [2].


It is generally accepted that supported graphene is hydrophobic and that its water contact angle is similar to that of graphite. Here, we show that the water contact angles of freshly prepared supported graphene and graphite surfaces increase when they are exposed to ambient air. By using infrared spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy we demonstrate that airborne hydrocarbons adsorb on graphitic surfaces, and that a concurrent decrease in the water contact angle occurs when these contaminants are partially removed by both thermal annealing and controlled ultraviolet-O3 treatment. Our findings indicate that graphitic surfaces are more hydrophilic than previously believed, and suggest that previously reported data on the wettability of graphitic surfaces may have been affected by unintentional hydrocarbon contamination from ambient air.

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