Scientific reports

High-efficiency exfoliation of layered materials into 2D nanosheets in switchable CO2/Surfactant/H2O system.

PMID 26568039


Layered materials present attractive and important properties due to their two-dimensional (2D) structure, allowing potential applications including electronics, optoelectronics, and catalysis. However, fully exploiting the outstanding properties will require a method for their efficient exfoliation. Here we present that a series of layered materials can be successfully exfoliated into single- and few-layer nanosheets using the driving forces coming from the phase inversion, i.e., from micelles to reverse micelles in the emulsion microenvironment built by supercritical carbon dioxide (SC CO2). The effect of variable experimental parameters including CO2 pressure, ethanol/water ratio, and initial concentration of bulk materials on the exfoliation yield have been investigated. Moreover, we demonstrate that the exfoliated 2D nanosheets have their worthwhile applications, for example, graphene can be used to prepare conductive paper, MoS2 can be used as fluorescent label to perform cellular labelling, and BN can effectively reinforce polymers leading to the promising mechanical properties.