The intercalation of graphite by electrochemical methods is an efficient strategy to produce massive graphene flakes. In fact, when graphite is biased inside an acidic solution, anions enter inside the stratified structure of the electrode and reduce the layer-to-layer interaction. Consequently, a gentle sonication is sufficient to disperse the graphene flakes inside the electrolyte. In view of an optimisation of the production protocol, a detailed analysis of the intercalation mechanism at the molecular length scale is mandatory. In the last 30 years, electrochemical (EC) scanning probe microscopies (e.g. EC-STM and in situ AFM) have been widely exploited in this research topic. In fact, these techniques have the possibility of combining the EC characterisation (e.g. cyclic-voltammetry, CV) with mechanical characterisation (e.g. adhesion and friction) and topography acquisition with high (molecular) lateral resolution. In this work, we investigate the tribological properties of the basal surface of graphite before and after the anion intercalation. By comparing the results acquired after the extraction of the graphite electrode from the EC cell with those collected inside the EC cell during the CV by an in situ AFM, we show how some features deriving from anisotropic friction can be exploited to unveil the very early stage of graphite exfoliation.

Anion intercalated graphite: a combined electrochemical and tribological investigation by in situ AFM

Bussetti G.;Yivlialin R.;Ciccacci F.
2020

Abstract

The intercalation of graphite by electrochemical methods is an efficient strategy to produce massive graphene flakes. In fact, when graphite is biased inside an acidic solution, anions enter inside the stratified structure of the electrode and reduce the layer-to-layer interaction. Consequently, a gentle sonication is sufficient to disperse the graphene flakes inside the electrolyte. In view of an optimisation of the production protocol, a detailed analysis of the intercalation mechanism at the molecular length scale is mandatory. In the last 30 years, electrochemical (EC) scanning probe microscopies (e.g. EC-STM and in situ AFM) have been widely exploited in this research topic. In fact, these techniques have the possibility of combining the EC characterisation (e.g. cyclic-voltammetry, CV) with mechanical characterisation (e.g. adhesion and friction) and topography acquisition with high (molecular) lateral resolution. In this work, we investigate the tribological properties of the basal surface of graphite before and after the anion intercalation. By comparing the results acquired after the extraction of the graphite electrode from the EC cell with those collected inside the EC cell during the CV by an in situ AFM, we show how some features deriving from anisotropic friction can be exploited to unveil the very early stage of graphite exfoliation.
AFM
Cyclic-voltammetry
HOPG intercalation
in situ
tribological analysis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1146366
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