Noncovalent Monolayer Modification of Graphene Using Pyrene and Cyclodextrin Receptors for Chemical Sensing

Xue V. Zhen, Emily G. Swanson, Justin T. Nelson, Yao Zhang, Qun Su, Steven J. Koester, Philippe Bühlmann

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Surprisingly few details have been reported in the literature that help the experimentalist to determine the conditions necessary for the preparation of self-assembled monolayers on graphene with a high surface coverage. With a view to graphene-based sensing arrays and devices and, in particular, in view of graphene-based varactors for gas sensing, graphene was modified in this work by the π-πinteraction-driven self-assembly of 10 pyrene and cyclodextrin derivatives from solution. The receptor compounds were pyrene, pyrene derivatives with hydroxyl, carboxyl, ester, ammonium, amino, diethylamino, and boronic acid groups, and perbenzylated α-, β-, and γ-cyclodextrins. Adsorption of these compounds onto graphene was quantified by contact-angle measurements and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Data thus obtained were fitted with the Langmuir adsorption model to determine the equilibrium constants for surface adsorption and the concentrations of self-assembly solutions needed to form dense monolayers on graphene. The equilibrium constants of all pyrene derivatives fell into the range from 103.4 to 104.6 M-1. For the perbenzylated α-, β-, and γ-cyclodextrins, the equilibrium constants are 103.24, 102.97, and 102.95 M-1, respectively. Monolayers of 1-pyrenemethylammonium chloride on graphene were confirmed to be stable under heating to 100 °C in a high vacuum (2 × 10-5 Torr).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2718-2726
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 22 2018


  • adsorption isotherm
  • contact angle
  • graphene
  • Langmuir adsorption
  • monolayer
  • self-assembly
  • surface modification
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

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