Wettability of pristine and alkyl-functionalized graphane

D Vanzo and D Bratko and A Luzar, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 137, 034707 (2012).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4732520

Graphane is a hydrogenated form of graphene with high bandgap and planar structure insensitive to a broad range of chemical substitutions. We describe an atomistic simulation approach to predict wetting properties of this new material. We determine the contact angle to be 73 degrees. The lower hydrophobicity compared to graphene is explained by the increased planar density of carbon atoms while we demonstrate that the presence of partial charges on carbon and hydrogen atoms plays only a minor role. We further examine the effects of graphane functionalization by alkyl groups of increasing chain lengths. The gradual increase in contact angle with chain length offers a precise control of surface wettability. A saturated contact angle of 114 degrees is reached in butylated form. We find the saturation of contact angle with respect to the length of the functional groups to coincide with the loss of water's ability to penetrate the n-alkyl molecular brush and interact with carbon atoms of the underlying lattice. Since no experimental data have yet become available, our modeling results provide the first estimate of the wettability of graphane. The results also show how its alkyl functionalization provides the basis for a variety of chemical modifications to tune hydrophilicity while preserving the planar geometry of the substrate. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4732520

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