Revealing Dynamic Rotation of Single Graphene Nanoplatelets on Electrified Microinterfaces


Nanoparticles interact with a variety of interfaces, from cell walls for medicinal applications to conductive interfaces for energy storage and conversion applications. Unfortunately, quantifying dynamic changes of nanoparticles near interfaces is difficult. While optical techniques exist to study nanoparticle dynamics, motions smaller than the diffraction limit are difficult to quantify. Single-entity electrochemistry has high sensitivity, but the technique suffers from ambiguity in the entity’s size, morphology, and collision location. Here, we combine optical microscopy, single-entity electrochemistry, and numerical simulations to elucidate the dynamic motion of graphene nanoplatelets at a gold ultramicroelectrode (radius ∼5 μm). The approach of conductive graphene nanoplatelets, suspended in 10 μM NaOH, to an ultramicroelectrode surface was tracked optically during the continuous oxidation of ferrocenemethanol. Optical microscopy confirmed the nanoplatelet size, morphology, and collision location on the ultramicroelectrode. Nanoplatelets collided on the ultramicroelectrode at an angle, θ, enhancing the electroactive area, resulting in a sharp increase in current. After the collision, the nanoplatelets reoriented to lay flat on the electrode surface, which manifested as a return to the baseline current in the amperometric current–time response. Through correlated finite element simulations, we extracted single nanoplatelet angular velocities on the order of 0.5–2°/ms. These results are a necessary step forward in understanding nanoparticle dynamics at the nanoscale.


Revealing Dynamic Rotation of Single Graphene Nanoplatelets on Electrified Microinterfaces
Andrew D. Pendergast, Zejun Deng, Fouad Maroun, Christophe Renault, and Jeffrey E. Dick
ACS Nano 2021 15 (1), 1250-1258
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c08406