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ACS Nano. 2013 Nov 26;7(11):10335-43. doi: 10.1021/nn404746h. Epub 2013 Oct 21.

Enhanced chemical reactivity of graphene induced by mechanical strain.

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Institute for Materials Chemistry and Engineering, Kyushu University , Fukuoka 816-8580, Japan.


Control over chemical reactivity is essential in the field of nanotechnology. Graphene is a two-dimensional atomic sheet of sp(2) hybridized carbon with exceptional properties that can be altered by chemical functionalization. Here, we transferred single-layer graphene onto a flexible substrate and investigated the functionalization using different aryl diazonium molecules while applying mechanical strain. We found that mechanical strain can alter the structure of graphene, and dramatically increase the reaction rate, by a factor of up to 10, as well as increase the final degree of functionalization. Furthermore, we demonstrate that mechanical strain enables functionalization of graphene for both p- and n-type dopants, where unstrained graphene showed negligible reactivity. Theoretical calculations were also performed to support the experimental findings. Our findings offer a simple approach to control the chemical reactivity of graphene through the application of mechanical strain, allowing for a tuning of the properties of graphene.

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