New advances in nanographene chemistry

Chem Soc Rev. 2015 Sep 21;44(18):6616-43. doi: 10.1039/c5cs00183h. Epub 2015 Jul 17.


Nanographenes, or extended polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, have been attracting renewed and more widespread attention since the first experimental demonstration of graphene in 2004. However, the atomically precise fabrication of nanographenes has thus far been achieved only through synthetic organic chemistry. The precise synthesis of quasi-zero-dimensional nanographenes, i.e. graphene molecules, has witnessed rapid developments over the past few years, and these developments can be summarized in four categories: (1) non-conventional methods, (2) structures incorporating seven- or eight-membered rings, (3) selective heteroatom doping, and (4) direct edge functionalization. On the other hand, one-dimensional extension of the graphene molecules leads to the formation of graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) with high aspect ratios. The synthesis of structurally well-defined GNRs has been achieved by extending nanographene synthesis to longitudinally extended polymeric systems. Access to GNRs thus becomes possible through the solution-mediated or surface-assisted cyclodehydrogenation, or "graphitization," of tailor-made polyphenylene precursors. In this review, we describe recent progress in the "bottom-up" chemical syntheses of structurally well-defined nanographenes, namely graphene molecules and GNRs.