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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2010, Article ID 186486, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/186486
Research Article

Stable Aqueous Suspension and Self-Assembly of Graphite Nanoplatelets Coated with Various Polyelectrolytes

1Composite Materials and Structures Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1226, USA
2Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1226, USA

Received 1 March 2010; Accepted 7 May 2010

Academic Editor: Rakesh Joshi

Copyright © 2010 Jue Lu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Exfoliated graphite nanoplatelets (xGnPs) with an average thickness of 1–10 nm present an inexpensive alternative to carbon nanotubes in many applications. In this paper, stable aqueous suspension of xGnP was achieved by noncovalent functionalization of xGnP with polyelectrolytes. The surfactants and polyelectrolytes were compared with respect to their ability to suspend graphite nanoplatelets. The surface charge of the nanoplatelets was characterized with zeta potential measurements, and the bonding strength of the polymer chains to the surface of xGnP was characterized with Raman spectroscopy. This robust method opens up the possibility of using this inexpensive nanomaterial in many applications, including electrochemical devices, and leads to simple processing techniques such as layer-by-layer deposition. Therefore, the formation of xGnP conductive coatings using layer-by-layer deposition was also demonstrated.