CheapTubes.com recently exhibited at NSTI May 5th + 6th 2009 in Houston TX. During that show, we were often asked questions regarding the differences between our Single Layered Graphene Oxide and Graphene Nano Platelets which typically have lower costs. Upon our return from Houston, we decided put out this release to assist Graphene consumers so they can clearly understand the differences between these equally impressive products and thus make informed decisions when evaluating them.
The Solution Processable Single Layer Graphene Oxide available from CheapTubes.com and the Graphene Nano Platelets (GNPs) are indeed very different products. Some products are inherently better suited for specific applications even though at first glance competing products may look very similar. As the name indicates, GNPs are multilayered and typically have a thickness ranging from 5-10 nm and many have ~ 8-12 layers on average. The thickness and size of the GNPs can be very different in the same sample. GNPs typically are not soluble in water, require the use of surfactants to effectively disperse them, and cannot be easily dispersed in water or other solvents. In that respect they are very similar to CNTs.
As a result, many types of GNPs are not solution processable which is a mandatory property for many advanced applications, particularly for micro-nano electronic device, transparent conductive coatings, and fuel cell applications. The GNPs edges normally have other edge groups attached. In contrast, our Single Layered Graphene Oxide product is solution processable and completely Single-Layered Graphene Oxide with an average thickness of 0.7 to 1.2nm as measured by AFM.
The properties of Single-Layered Graphene Oxide and Multi-Layered Graphene Oxide are very different. This includes their much desired mechanical & electrical properties. To illustrate this, we point to the well known differences between SWNTs & MWNTs, with the exception that our Single Layer Graphene Oxide is completely pure without any catalyst metal and it is very easy to disperse for many applications.
The difficulty experienced when dispersing the GNPs is the same as with CNTs. Our Single Layer Graphene does not have this problem at all. For any given application, in order to obtain the best properties with minimum material usage requires that the material have the best dispersion properties (both at the single-layered and single piece level) as well as the best properties for each piece. Our Single-Layered Graphene Oxide addresses all of these concerns and can be reduced to a neat Single Layer Graphene as well. Please note, we have found that many suppliers of GNPs will admit when asked that the GNPs are typically provided as Oxide or other forms of Graphene. This may not be readily apparent from their marketing materials. Some companies do advertise neat GNPs, however, when pressed we have found that they will admit that it is not available in commercial quantities at this time or that it is currently all for their own internal use. Our Single Layered Graphene Oxide is available now and our capacity is increasing as well.