Graphene oxide, integrated with the filamentous bacteriophage M13, forms a 3D large-scale multifunctional porous structure by self-assembly, with considerable potential for applications. We performed Raman spectroscopy under pressure on this porous composite to understand its fundamental mechanics. The results show that at low applied pressure, the sp 2 bonds of graphene oxide stiffen very little with increasing pressure, suggesting a complicated behaviour of water intercalated between the graphene layers. The key message of this paper is that water in a confined space can have a significant impact on the nanostructure that hosts it. We introduced carbon nanotubes during the self-assembly of graphene oxide and M13, and a similar porous macro-structure was observed. However, in the presence of carbon nanotubes, pressure is transmitted to the sp 2 bonds of graphene oxide straightforwardly as in graphite. The electrical conductivity of the composite containing carbon nanotubes is improved by about 30 times at a bias voltage of 10 V. This observation suggests that the porous structure has potential in applications where good electrical conductivity is desired, such as sensors and batteries.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Y.W.S and C.J.H gratefully acknowledge the financial support from Innovate UK.
© 2020, The Author(s).
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