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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Buffer Gases on Graphene Flakes Synthesis in Thermal Plasma Process at Atmospheric Pressure

1
Department of Thermal Science and Energy Engineering, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230027, China
2
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230027, China
3
Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(2), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10020309
Received: 2 February 2020 / Revised: 7 February 2020 / Accepted: 9 February 2020 / Published: 11 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Synthesis, Interfaces and Nanostructures)
A thermal plasma process at atmospheric pressure is an attractive method for continuous synthesis of graphene flakes. In this paper, a magnetically rotating arc plasma system is employed to investigate the effects of buffer gases on graphene flakes synthesis in a thermal plasma process. Carbon nanomaterials are prepared in Ar, He, Ar-H2, and Ar-N2 via propane decomposition, and the product characterization is performed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and the Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) method. Results show that spherical particles, semi-graphitic particles, and graphene flakes coexist in products under an Ar atmosphere. Under an He atmosphere, all products are graphene flakes. Graphene flakes with fewer layers, higher crystallinity, and a larger BET surface area are prepared in Ar-H2 and Ar-N2. Preliminary analysis reveals that a high-energy environment and abundant H atoms can suppress the formation of curved or closed structures, which leads to the production of graphene flakes with high crystallinity. Furthermore, nitrogen-doped graphene flakes with 1–4 layers are successfully synthesized with the addition of N2, which indicates the thermal plasma process also has great potential for the synthesis of nitrogen-doped graphene flakes due to its continuous manner, cheap raw materials, and adjustable nitrogen-doped content.
Keywords: graphene flakes; thermal plasma; magnetically rotating arc plasma; buffer gas; nitrogen-doped graphene flakes graphene flakes; thermal plasma; magnetically rotating arc plasma; buffer gas; nitrogen-doped graphene flakes
MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, C.; Song, M.; Chen, X.; Li, D.; Xia, W.; Xia, W. Effects of Buffer Gases on Graphene Flakes Synthesis in Thermal Plasma Process at Atmospheric Pressure. Nanomaterials 2020, 10, 309.

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