Effect of adsorbate geometry and hydrogen bonding on the enhanced adsorption of VOCs by an interfacial Fe3O4–rGO heterostructure

Seongbin Lee, Sooyeon Kim, Sang Soo Han, Dong Wan Kim, Jiwon Lee, Youngtak Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced from a wide range of industrial and household chemicals are toxic to human health. Hence, effective VOC removal strategies such as adsorption are essential. Developing a carbon-based adsorbent for the selective adsorption of VOCs without affecting its inherent adsorption capacity is challenging. In this study, we prepared three Fe3O4-doped reduced graphene oxide (Fe-rGO) materials via a liquid-phase reduction technique under acidic, neutral, and basic coagulation conditions. The Fe-rGO adsorbents exhibited a hydrolysis-induced GO network with a wrinkled layer morphology. Acidic conditions yielded an rGO surface with a large number of O-functional groups (epoxy and carboxylic groups), which act as anchoring sites for the growth of Fe3O4 nanoparticles. The synergistic effect of Fe3O4 domains and O active sites led to the effective and selective adsorption of amphiphilic VOCs including C4-C7 alkanes, ketones, and aromatic compounds (10.8–63.2 mg g−1). Experimental analyses and density functional theory calculations revealed three crucial factors that determine the improved amphiphilic VOC adsorption of the Fe-rGO materials: geometry of the adsorbate, hydrogen bonding at the rGO surface, and Fe3O4 nanoparticles controlling the charge density. Our facile and effective rGO surface manipulation strategy involving the fabrication of a metal oxide–carbon heterostructure provides a selective adsorption platform for amphiphilic VOCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145346
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Air Environment Research Program, South Korea (2E32402, 2E32431, 2E32403).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Density functional theory
  • FeO
  • Geometric gas adsorption
  • Interfacial heterostructure
  • Reduced graphene oxide
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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