Proton and molecular permeation through the basal plane of monolayer graphene oxide: Nature Communications

Z.F. Wu, P.Z. Sun, O.J. Wahab, Y.T. Tan, D. Barry, D. Periyanagounder, P.B. Pillai, Q. Dai, W.Q. Xiong, L.F. Vega, K. Lulla, S.J. Yuan, R.R. Nair, E. Daviddi, P.R. Unwin, A.K. Geim, M. Lozada-Hidalgo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Two-dimensional (2D) materials offer a prospect of membranes that combine negligible gas permeability with high proton conductivity and could outperform the existing proton exchange membranes used in various applications including fuel cells. Graphene oxide (GO), a well-known 2D material, facilitates rapid proton transport along its basal plane but proton conductivity across it remains unknown. It is also often presumed that individual GO monolayers contain a large density of nanoscale pinholes that lead to considerable gas leakage across the GO basal plane. Here we show that relatively large, micrometer-scale areas of monolayer GO are impermeable to gases, including helium, while exhibiting proton conductivity through the basal plane which is nearly two orders of magnitude higher than that of graphene. These findings provide insights into the key properties of GO and demonstrate that chemical functionalization of 2D crystals can be utilized to enhance their proton transparency without compromising gas impermeability. © 2023, The Author(s).
Original languageBritish English
JournalNat. Commun.
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • fuel
  • graphene
  • graphene oxide
  • helium
  • hydrogen
  • proton
  • fuel cell
  • leakage
  • oxide group
  • permeability
  • superconductivity
  • transparency
  • Article
  • atomic force microscopy
  • chemical bond
  • chemical procedures
  • comparative study
  • conductance
  • controlled study
  • gas permeability
  • platinum electrode
  • proton transport
  • scanning electrochemical microscopy
  • transmission electron microscopy
  • X ray photoemission spectroscopy
  • article
  • membrane


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