Research by graduate student James Radich has revealed a previously unexpected sensitivity to UV light of reduced graphene oxide (RGO) on TiO2 nanoparticles in aqueous suspensions. Hydroxyl radicals, produced in the surrounding water, further oxidize the RGO film and prolonged exposure to UV irradiation fully mineralizes the organic material. The work not only calls into question several proposed applications of RGO in photocatalysis and fuel cells, for example, but also suggests potential strategies for remediation of related carbon contaminants in the environment. (Chem. Mater. 2014, DOI:10.1021/cm5026552).
The work was highlighted in C&EN ‘news of the week’ on August 4th.