Impermeable Graphene Oxide Protects Silicon from Oxidation

Soraya Rahpeima, Essam M. Dief, Simone Ciampi, Colin L. Raston, Nadim Darwish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The presence of a natural silicon oxide (SiOx) layer over the surface of silicon (Si) has been a roadblock for hybrid semiconductor and organic electronics technology. The presence of an insulating oxide layer is a limiting operational factor, which blocks charge transfer and therefore electrical signals for a range of applications. Etching the SiOx layer by fluoride solutions leaves a reactive Si-H surface that is only stable for few hours before it starts reoxidizing under ambient conditions. Controlled passivation of silicon is also of key importance for improving Si photovoltaic efficiency. Here, we show that a thin layer of graphene oxide (GOx) prevents Si surfaces from oxidation under ambient conditions for more than 30 days. In addition, we show that the protective GOx layer can be modified with molecules enabling a functional surface that allows for further chemical conjugation or connections with upper electrodes, while preserving the underneath Si in a nonoxidized form. The GOx layer can be switched electrochemically to reduced graphene oxide, allowing the development of a dynamic material for molecular electronics technologies. These findings demonstrate that 2D materials are alternatives to organic self-assembled monolayers that are typically used to protect and tune the properties of Si and open a realm of possibilities that combine Si and 2D materials technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38799-38807
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2021


  • graphene oxide
  • impermeable barriers
  • oxidation
  • protection of Si-H surfaces
  • reduced graphene oxide
  • self-assembled monolayers


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