Nano Lett. 2021 Jan 15. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c04641. Online ahead of print.
We report a facile approach to directly chlorinate graphene from an aqueous sodium chloride solution under ambient conditions. By applying a moderate anodic voltage to substrate-supported monolayer graphene, the resultant chlorine radicals generated at the graphene surface enable efficient chlorination: X-ray photoelectron spectrum confirms the formation of C-Cl bonds, and reaction voltage-tunable Cl:C atomic ratios of up to 17% are achieved. In comparison, we find the corresponding electrochemical graphene bromination and iodination reactions much less viable. Electrical and Raman characterizations show substantial p-doping for the chlorinated graphene, yet good basal-plane integrity and electrical properties are maintained. Interference reflection microscopy and pH-dependent experiments next help elucidate the competition between the radical-mediated electrochemical chlorination and oxidation in the process, and rationalize acidic conditions for optimal chlorination. Reaction in a mixed NaCl-NaN3 solution shows the electrochemical chlorination to be fully suppressed by azidation, yet a sequential, two-step chlorination-azidation approach permits facile bifunctionalization.