Reversible transition of graphene from hydrophobic to hydrophilic in the presence of an electric field

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Journal Article
Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2012, 116 (36), pp. 19321 - 19326
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The catalytic effect of a perpendicular electric field on the reversible transition of graphene with water from hydrophobic to hydrophilic has been investigated by using first principles calculations. It is found that a negative electric field F can reduce the energy barrier for H 2O dissociative adsorption on graphene, while a positive electric field has an opposite effect. Under F = -0.39 V/Å, the energy barrier becomes negative and the dissociative adsorption occurs smoothly without any potential barrier, which results in hydrophilic graphene. For the desorption of H and OH from graphene after the dissociative adsorption of the H 2O molecule, the positive electric field of F = 0.36 V/Å leads to a negative desorption energy barrier and the desorption progress is present automatically, making the graphene hydrophobic again. Therefore, the electric field can act as a switch to reversibly change the graphene from hydrophobic to hydrophilic in the presence of water vapor. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
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