First Graphene (ASX: FGR) and its subsidiary 2D Fluidics Pty Ltd are developing a more “benign” processing route using the Vortex Fluidic device for oxidised graphene and recently successfully transferred the technology to First Graphene’s laboratories at the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre in Manchester.
Work has been underway on the Vortex Fluidic device at First Graphene’s Manchester facilities, with the technology undergoing further development and optimisation to identify, understand and resolve future upscaling issues.
“The complementary characterisation techniques used to confirm the synthesis of oxidised graphene gives us confidence we are on the right route towards fabricating a material, which is comparable to the historical graphene oxide fabricated using the conventional Hummers method,” First Graphene managing director Craig McGuckin explained.
According to First Graphene, graphene oxide is a chemically modified derivative of graphene.
The material contains oxygen functionalities making it “ideal for use in a range of applications”.
Via its more benign processing route for oxidised graphene, First Graphene and 2D Fluidics aim to provide controlled levels of surface oxygen functionality to give better and easier compatibility in aqueous and organic systems.
Currently, the Hummers method is the most used process to synthesise graphene oxide, but the technique requires strong acids and oxidants.
First Graphene explained its method will not incur higher oxygen and other defect levels which result from the Hummers process.
The company’s new method also aims to enable tuning or optimising surface oxidation levels to suit different applications.
It works by synthesising graphene oxide from bulk graphite using aqueous hydrogen peroxide as the green oxidant.
Different energy sources are then used to convert the hydrogen peroxide molecules into more active peroxide species.
Irradiation promotes the dissociation of hydrogen peroxide into hydroxyl radicals which then leads to surface oxidation.
Moving forward, First Graphene will establish operating parameters to provide data for scaling the system up to commercial production.
“We are now reviewing end applications and, thus, exploring a number of avenues which include, but are not limited to the use in devices, testing levels of toxicity for biological applications, for water filtration membranes and incorporation in membranes for studying anti-fouling properties,” Mr McGuckin added.
The news saw First Graphene’s share price lift more than 7% to $0.15 by early afternoon trade.