Evidence of nanocrystalline semiconducting graphene monoxide during thermal reduction of graphene oxide in vacuum.
As silicon-based electronics are reaching the nanosize limits of the semiconductor roadmap, carbon-based nanoelectronics has become a rapidly growing field, with great interest in tuning the properties of carbon-based materials. Chemical functionalization is a proposed route, but syntheses of graphene oxide (G-O) produce disordered, nonstoichiometric materials with poor electronic properties. We report synthesis of an ordered, stoichiometric, solid-state carbon oxide that has never been observed in nature and coexists with graphene. Formation of this material, graphene monoxide (GMO), is achieved by annealing multilayered G-O. Our results indicate that the resulting thermally reduced G-O (TRG-O) consists of a two-dimensional nanocrystalline phase segregation: unoxidized graphitic regions are separated from highly oxidized regions of GMO. GMO has a quasi-hexagonal unit cell, an unusually high 1:1 O:C ratio, and a calculated direct band gap of ∼0.9 eV.