Although traditionally seen as a precursor to large-scale graphene synthesis, GO has recently received more attention for its other possible uses. For example, it is considered as a chemically tunable platform for optical applications and has uses in biosensing and photothermal therapy.

In the study, the process was observed to be very efficient in terms of production rate and provides an alternative method to mechanical or chemical exfoliation. To their surprise, the researchers witnessed that very large GO sheets spontaneously migrate at the water surface to produce a free-standing membrane at the water–air interface.

The method indicates a scalable approach for GO production, providing high quality and controllable macroscopic samples for the exploration of novel properties and the development of new applications. In particular, these unique conditions offer an intriguing environment where opposing dielectric media meet and molecular interactions such as hydrogen bonding and electrostatic interactions are greatly enhanced.

Additional information can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.