Taking an Energy Efficient, Green Chemistry Approach to Nanocomposite Synthesis

A paper published in the journal Materials Science and Engineering: B reported the green synthesis of graphene oxide/silver nanoparticle nanocomposite via an eco-friendly chemistry approach.

Taking an Energy Efficient, Green Chemistry Approach to Nanocomposite Synthesis

Study: Designing graphene oxide/silver nanoparticles based nanocomposites by energy efficient green chemistry approach and their physicochemical characterization. Image Credit: bluebay/Shutterstock.com

An Introduction to Graphene

Graphene is an atomically thin, two-dimensional honeycomb film of sp2 hybridized atoms of carbon. It has been found to have great mechanical strength, excellent electrical conduction, molecular barrier properties, and other beneficial qualities.

The difficulty in fabrication, low solubility, and aggregation tendencies of graphene have made its utilization difficult.

Graphene oxide (GO) is a graphene derivative with different oxygenated functional groups. GO offers several benefits over pure graphene, including facile fabrication, greater solubility and the capability of surface functionalization. These qualities have uncovered endless possibilities for utilizing GO in nanocomposite materials.

Benefits of Using Metallic Nanoparticles

Metallic nanoparticles (NPs) have various benefits in the field of electrochemistry. Because of their compact size, nanoparticles may enhance the contact area of the electrode in use. Furthermore, metallic nanoparticles may boost the rate of mass transfer and provide quick electron transference, ultimately increasing the sensitivities of the used electrodes.

Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are low cost and have distinct physical and chemical characteristics that make them helpful in several optical, chemical, and catalytic functions.

Using a Green Chemistry Approach

A shift towards non-toxic, environmentally friendly green chemistry methods to produce metallic nanoparticles has taken place over the last few years. The involvement of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi, and plant extract as capping and reducing agents makes the green chemistry approach sustainable and eco-friendly.

Plant extract is preferred over bacteria and fungi for mediating the synthesis procedures as it is more environmentally friendly.

Phenol-based chemicals, including phenolic acids, phospholipids, and flavonoids, are the most notable secondary metabolites found in plant components.

Gallic acid (GA) is a phenol-based chemical generated by the hydrolysis of polyphenol-containing plants. GA possesses antibacterial, antineoplastic, and radical scavenging properties.

Gallic acid has recently been employed as a capping and reducing agent in green chemistry techniques for fabricating silver nanoparticles. These nanoparticles, paired with gallic acid, may be used as spectroscopy probes and electrolytic sensors.

Potential of GO/AgNP Nanocomposites

Nanoscale composites of metallic nanoparticles and GO have promising applications in energy storage, supercapacitors, and electronics.

Nanocomposites of silver nanoparticles and reduced graphene oxide have been developed previously. Electrodes modified with these nanocomposites displayed excellent electrolytic activity and responsiveness towards ions of heavy metals.

Using carbon-based nanomaterials in conjunction with metallic nanoparticles (such as those of silver) for modification of the glassy carbon electrode (GCE) is a sustainable approach. This nanocomposite enhances the effective area and excellent electron transport performance of the electrode surface.

What Did the Researchers Do?

The team attempted to construct GO/AgNP nanocomposites in ambient conditions using an energy-efficient off-site approach in this research.

As a green chemistry approach, the process employed the Hummers technique for synthesizing graphene oxide and biomolecules to reduce silver salt's controllable reduction. The integration of silver nanoparticles and graphene oxide was critical in creating GO/AgNP nanocomposites.

Different spectroscopy and microscopy methods were used to characterize the produced nanocomposites and investigate their electrochemical characteristics.

Results of the Study

The team examined the electrochemical behavior of the developed GO/AgNP nanocomposites using a facile off-site process as an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly green chemistry approach.

The production of silver nanoparticles was achieved by the simultaneous utilization of tri-sodium citrate and gallic acid as capping and reducing agents.

Hummer's approach was used to manufacture graphene oxide from graphite powder. The presence of functional groups, including carbonyl, carboxyl, and C-O groups, was verified by FTIR analysis of graphene oxide.

The GO/AgNPs nanocomposites were produced by combining varying quantities of silver nanoparticles while maintaining the graphene oxide quantity constant.

The electrochemical analysis of surface-modified glassy carbon electrode revealed that the redox reactions were mediated by oxygen-containing, sp2-bound carbon and Ago at the surface.

The developed nanocomposites are viable materials for modification of the GCE in future applications.


Sajjad, M., Ahmad, F., Shah, L. A., & Khan, M. (2022). Designing graphene oxide/silver nanoparticles based nanocomposites by energy efficient green chemistry approach and their physicochemical characterization. Materials Science and Engineering: B, 284. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921510722002884?via%3Dihub

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Shaheer Rehan

Written by

Shaheer Rehan

Shaheer is a graduate of Aerospace Engineering from the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad. He has carried out research on a wide range of subjects including Aerospace Instruments and Sensors, Computational Dynamics, Aerospace Structures and Materials, Optimization Techniques, Robotics, and Clean Energy. He has been working as a freelance consultant in Aerospace Engineering for the past year. Technical Writing has always been a strong suit of Shaheer's. He has excelled at whatever he has attempted, from winning accolades on the international stage in match competitions to winning local writing competitions. Shaheer loves cars. From following Formula 1 and reading up on automotive journalism to racing in go-karts himself, his life revolves around cars. He is passionate about his sports and makes sure to always spare time for them. Squash, football, cricket, tennis, and racing are the hobbies he loves to spend his time in.


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