Graphene nanobubbles are of significant interest due to their ability to trap mesoscopic volumes of gas for various applications in nanoscale engineering. However, conventional protocols to produce such bubbles are relatively elaborate and require specialized equipment to subject graphite samples to high temperatures or pressures. Here, we demonstrate the formation of graphene nanobubbles between layers of highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) with electrolysis. Although this process can also lead to the formation of gaseous surface nanobubbles on top of the substrate, the two types of bubbles can easily be distinguished using atomic force microscopy. We estimated the Young’s modulus, internal pressure, and the thickness of the top membrane of the graphene nanobubbles. The hydrogen storage capacity can reach ∼5 wt % for a graphene nanobubble with a membrane that is four layers thick. The simplicity of our protocol paves the way for such graphitic nanobubbles to be utilized for energy storage and industrial applications on a wide scale.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge funding from a competitive research programme under the auspices of the Singapore government’s National Research Foundation (programme no. NRF-CRP9- 2011-04). B.H.T. acknowledges financial support from the Agency of Science, Technology and Research in Singapore. J.G.S.M. is supported by the National Research Foundation Singapore under its National Research Foundation (NRF) Environmental and Water Technologies (EWT) Ph.D. Scholarship Programme and administered by the Environment and Water Industry Programme Office (EWI). M.P. acknowledges a Tier 2 grant (MOE2013-T2-1-056; ARC 35/13) from the Ministry of Education, Singapore.
© 2017 American Chemical Society.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering