Proton and molecular permeation through the basal plane of monolayer graphene oxide

Z. F. Wu, P. Z. Sun, O. J. Wahab, Y. -T. Tao, D. Barry, D. Periyanagounder, P. B. Pillai, Q. Dai, W. Q. Xiong, L. F. Vega, K. Lulla, S. J. Yuan, R. R. Nair, E. Daviddi, P. R. Unwin, A. K. Geim, M. Lozada-Hidalgo

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Two-dimensional (2D) materials offer a prospect of membranes that combine negligible gas permeability with high proton conductivity and could outperform the existing proton exchange membranes used in various applications including fuel cells. Graphene oxide (GO), a well-known 2D material, facilitates rapid proton transport along its basal plane but proton conductivity across it remains unknown. It is also often presumed that individual GO monolayers contain a large density of nanoscale pinholes that lead to considerable gas leakage across the GO basal plane. Here we show that relatively large, micrometer-scale areas of monolayer GO are impermeable to gases, including helium, while exhibiting proton conductivity through the basal plane which is nearly two orders of magnitude higher than that of graphene. These findings provide insights into the key properties of GO and demonstrate that chemical functionalization of 2D crystals can be utilized to enhance their proton transparency without compromising gas impermeability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Nov 2023


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