Today, we will discuss the differences between pristine graphene and graphene oxide (GO). This topic is significant because, during many discussions researchers working in Flake Graphene Research Group at Łukasiewicz – Institute of Microelectronics and Photonics, have to explain to interlocutors interested in G-Flake® that GO is not the same as graphene, that it has different (not inferior) properties, and that it is essential to choose the appropriate type of graphene material for the desired application.

As such it is worth to underline, that pristine graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms tightly bonded together in a hexagonal lattice, forming a two-dimensional structure. This arrangement imparts extraordinary electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties to pristine graphene, making it a promising material for various applications, including electronics and materials science. GO, on the other hand, is derived from graphite through an oxidation process. Oxygen-containing functional groups, such as hydroxyl and epoxide, are introduced onto the graphene surface, creating a more complex and heterogeneous structure. The incorporation of these functional groups disrupts the perfect hexagonal lattice of pristine graphene, leading to altered properties in graphene oxide.

One of the most significant distinctions between pristine graphene and GO lies in their electrical conductivity. Pristine graphene is renowned for its high electrical conductivity, allowing the efficient movement of electrons across its surface. In contrast, the introduction of oxygen functional groups in GO disrupts the π-electron system, reducing its electrical conductivity. This diminished conductivity may limit the application of GO in electronic devices. GO’s chemical reactivity is yet another feature, which distinguishes it from pristine graphene. The presence of oxygen functional groups enhances the material’s compatibility with various chemical reactions. GO can undergo functionalization, where additional chemical groups are attached to its surface, expanding its potential applications in areas such as sensors, drug delivery, and composite materials.

The differences in structure and properties between pristine graphene and GO contribute to their distinct applications. Pristine graphene finds applications in electronics, transparent conductive films, and energy storage devices. Its exceptional electrical conductivity and mechanical strength make it an ideal candidate for next-generation technologies. GO, with its chemical functionality and lower electrical conductivity, is often employed in biomedical applications, such as drug delivery systems and bioimaging. The functional groups on graphene oxide provide sites for chemical modifications, enabling the attachment of biomolecules for targeted drug delivery.

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