Reversible hydrophobic to hydrophilic transition in graphene via water splitting induced by UV irradiation

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Journal Article
Scientific Reports, 2014, 4
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© 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Although the reversible wettability transition between hydrophobic and hydrophilic graphene under ultraviolet (UV) irradiation has been observed, the mechanism for this phenomenon remains unclear. In this work, experimental and theoretical investigations demonstrate that the H2O molecules are split into hydrogen and hydroxyl radicals, which are then captured by the graphene surface through chemical binding in an ambient environment under UV irradiation. The dissociative adsorption of H2O molecules induces the wettability transition in graphene from hydrophobic to hydrophilic. Our discovery may hold promise for the potential application of graphene in water splitting.
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