Graphene's maximized surface-to-volume ratio, high conductance, mechanical strength, and flexibility make it a promising nanomaterial. However, large-scale graphene production is typically cost-intensive. This manuscript describes a microbial reduction approach for producing graphene that utilizes the bacterium Shewanella oneidensis in combination with modern nanotechnology to enable a low-cost, large-scale production method. The bacterial reduction approach presented in this paper increases the conductance of single graphene oxide flakes as well as bulk graphene oxide sheets by 2.1 to 2.7 orders of magnitude respectively while simultaneously retaining a high surface-area-to-thickness ratio. Shewanella-mediated reduction was employed in conjunction with electron-beam lithography to reduce one surface of individual graphene oxide flakes. This methodology yielded conducting flakes with differing functionalization on the top and bottom faces. Therefore, microbial reduction of graphene oxide enables the development and up-scaling of new types of graphene-based materials and devices with a variety of applications including nano-composites, conductive inks, and biosensors, while avoiding usage of hazardous, environmentally-unfriendly chemicals.
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