Near-edge x-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy study of nitrogen incorporation in chemically reduced graphene oxide Academic Article uri icon


  • The chemical reduction of exfoliated graphene oxide (GO) has gained widespread acceptance as a scalable route for the preparation of chemically derived graphene albeit with remnant topological defects and residual functional groups that preclude realization of the conductance of single-layered graphene. Reduction of GO with hydrazine is substantially effective in restoring the -conjugated framework of graphene and leads to about a five-to-six orders of magnitude decrease of sheet resistance, but has also been found to result in incidental nitrogen incorporation. Here, the authors use a combination of x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and C, O, and N K-edge near-edge x-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy to examine the local geometric and electronic structure of the incorporated nitrogen species. Both NEXAFS and XPS data suggest substantial recovery of the sp2-hybridized graphene framework upon chemical reduction and removal of epoxide, ketone, hydroxyl, and carboxylic acid species. Two distinct types of nitrogen atoms with pyridinic and pyrrolic character are identified in reduced graphene oxide. The N K-edge NEXAFS spectra suggest that the nitrogen atoms are stabilized within aromatic heterocycles such as pyrazole rings, which has been further corroborated by comparison to standards. The pyrazole fragments are thought to be stabilized by reaction of diketo groups on the edges of graphene sheets with hydrazine. The incorporation of nitrogen within reduced graphene oxide thus leads to local bonding configurations very distinct from substitutional doping observed for graphene grown by chemical vapor deposition in the presence of NH3. 2013 American Vacuum Society.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B Nanotechnology and Microelectronics Materials Processing Measurement and Phenomena

author list (cited authors)

  • Dennis, R. V., Schultz, B. J., Jaye, C., Wang, X. i., Fischer, D. A., Cartwright, A. N., & Banerjee, S.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Dennis, Robert V||Schultz, Brian J||Jaye, Cherno||Wang, Xi||Fischer, Daniel A||Cartwright, Alexander N||Banerjee, Sarbajit

publication date

  • July 2013