The relatively low-cost production of graphene oxide (GO) and its dispersibility in various solvents, including water, combined with its tunable surface chemistry, make GO an attractive building block for multifunctional materials.

There are many applications for which it is fundamental to preserve the intrinsic properties of GO. For instance, the high density of oxygenated groups in GO leads to a high water dispersibility (important in the biomedical field), and to a high proton conductivity and water retention (relevant for fuel cell applications). As a consequence, the derivatization of GO to impart novel properties has to be well controlled and the characterization of the functionalized samples thoroughly done.

These tasks are complex, because the chemical structure of GO has not been fully elucidated, and it can vary in terms of ratio between the different oxygenated groups, and the level of defects, depending on the synthesis protocol and the graphite source. Despite the great progress in the functionalization of GO, its chemistry is not always well controlled and not fully understood.[1]

In this talk, I will explain some strategies for the functionalization of GO through the selective derivatization of the epoxides and hydroxyl groups.[2-5] I will provide tools to perform appropriate functionalization of GO while avoiding alteration of its properties. I will show how specific functionalities on GO can help to increase its biodegradability by a peroxidase, offering perspectives for biomedical applications.[6]

I will also present our work on the functionalization of GO with a targeting ligand of cancer cells and a photosensitizer for the elimination of cancer cells by phototherapies.[7] Overall, our strategies for the covalent functionalization of GO provide opportunities for preparing multifunctional GO conjugates with potential applications in many fields, ranging from materials science to nanomedicine.

  1. Guo S, Garaj S, Bianco A, Ménard-Moyon C, Nat. Rev. Phys., 4 (2022), 247.
  2. Vacchi IA, Spinato C, Raya J, Bianco A, Ménard-Moyon C, Nanoscale, 8 (2016) 13714.
  3. Vacchi IA, Raya J, Bianco A, Ménard-Moyon C, 2D Mater., 5 (2018) 035037.
  4. Vacchi IA, Guo S, Raya J, Bianco A, Ménard-Moyon C, Chem. Eur. J., 26 (2020) 6591.
  5. Guo S, Nishina Y, Bianco A, Ménard-Moyon C, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl., 59 (2020) 1542.
  6. Kurapati R, Bonachera F, Russier J, Sureshbabu AR, Ménard-Moyon C, Kostarelos K, Bianco A, 2D Mater., 5 (2018) 015020.
  7. Guo S, Song Z, Reina G, Fauny JD, Nishina Y, Ménard-Moyon C, Bianco A, submitted.

Dr. Cécilia Ménard-Moyon obtained her PhD in 2005 at Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA)/Saclay (France). After a 1-year postdoc at the University of York (UK) and 18 months in a company in Belgium (Nanocyl SA), she joined CNRS as Research Associate in 2008 in the Laboratory of Immunology, Immunopathology and Therapeutic Chemistry in Strasbourg (France). In 2021 she was promoted CNRS Research Director. Her research interests are focused on the functionalization of carbon-based nanomaterials (mainly carbon nanotubes, graphene, carbon nanodots, and graphene quantum dots) for biomedical applications, the self-assembly of amino acid derivatives and peptides, as well as the formation of hydrogels for on-demand drug delivery. She has published 98 articles and 10 book chapters (h-index: 41, more than 4000 citations). She is the coordinator of the Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Doctoral Networks MELOMANES project on the synthesis of multifunctional magnetic nanoparticles for combination therapy to treat metastatic melanoma.