Subnanometer Vacancy Defects Introduced on Graphene by Oxygen Gas

The basal plane of graphene has been known to be less reactive than the edges, but some studies observed vacancies in the basal plane after reaction with oxygen gas. Observation of these vacancies has typically been limited to nanometer-scale resolution using microscopic techniques. This work demonstrates the introduction and observation of subnanometer vacancies in the basal plane of graphene by heat treatment in a flow of oxygen gas at low temperature such as 533 K or lower. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy was used to directly observe vacancy structures, which were compared with image simulations. These proposed structures contain CO, pyran-like ether, and lactone-like groups.