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Pristine Graphite Oxide

Dimiev, Ayrat, Kosynkin, Dmitry V., Alemany, Lawrence B., Chaguine, Pavel, Tour, James M.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2012 v.134 no.5 pp. 2815-2822
acidity, graphene, models, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, oxidation, scanning electron microscopy, standard operating procedures, thermogravimetry
Graphite oxide (GO) is a lamellar substance with an ambiguous structure due to material complexity. Recently published GO-related studies employ only one out of several existing models to interpret the experimental data. Because the models are different, this leads to confusion in understanding the nature of the observed phenomena. Lessening the structural ambiguity would lead to further developments in functionalization and use of GO. Here, we show that the structure and properties of GO depend significantly on the quenching and purification procedures, rather than, as is commonly thought, on the type of graphite used or oxidation protocol. We introduce a new purification protocol that produces a product that we refer to as pristine GO (pGO) in contrast to the commonly known material that we will refer to as conventional GO (cGO). We explain the differences between pGO and cGO by transformations caused by reaction with water. We produce ultraviolet–visible spectroscopic, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopic, solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic, thermogravimetric, and scanning electron microscopic analytical evidence for the structure of pGO. This work provides a new explanation for the acidity of GO solutions and allows us to add critical details to existing GO models.