Cucurbit[8]uril-Derived Graphene Hydrogels

The scalable production of uniformly distributed graphene (GR)-based composite materials remains a sizable challenge. While GR-polymer nanocomposites can be manufactured at large scale, processing limitations result in poor control over the homogeneity of hydrophobic GR sheets in the matrices. Such processes often result in difficulties controlling stability and avoiding aggregation, therefore eliminating benefits that might have otherwise arisen from the nanoscopic dimensions of GR. Here, we report an exfoliated and stabilized GR dispersion in water. Cucurbit[8]uril (CB[8])-mediated hostguest chemistry was used to obtain supramolecular hydrogels consisting of uniformly distributed GR and guest-functionalized macromolecules. The obtained GR-hydrogels show superior bioelectrical properties over identical systems produced without CB[8]. Utilizing such supramolecular interactions with biologically-derived macromolecules is a promising approach to stabilize graphene in water and avoid oxidative chemistry.