Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Covalent Functionalization of Graphene with Reactive Intermediates

Acc. Chem. Res.

Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 1 University Avenue, Lowell, Massachusetts

Free radical additions are among the most common reaction, and these radicals can be generated from diazonium salts and benzoyl peroxide. Electron transfer from graphene to aryl diazonium ion or photoactivation of benzoyl peroxide yields aryl radicals that subsequently add to graphene to form covalent adducts. Nitrenes, electron-deficient species generated by thermal or photochemical activation of organic azides, can functionalize graphene very efficiently. Because perfluorophenyl nitrenes show enhanced bimolecular reactions compared with alkyl or phenyl nitrenes, perfluorophenyl azides are especially effective. Carbenes are used less frequently than nitrenes, but they undergo CH insertion and CdC cycloaddition reactions with graphene. In addition, arynes can serve as a dienophile in a Diels Alder type reaction with graphene. 
Further study is needed to understand and exploit the chemistry of graphene. The generation of highly reactive intermediates in these reactions leads to side products that complicate the product composition and analysis. Fundamental questions remain about the reactivity and regioselectivity of graphene. The differences in the basal plane and the undercoordinated edges of graphene and the zigzag versus arm-chair configurations warrant comprehensive studies. The availability of well-defined pristine graphene starting materials in large quantities remains a key obstacle to the advancement of synthetic graphene chemistry .


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