Controlled functionalization of graphene layers is one of the most important research objectives in the material chemistry. A well established procedure is the oxidation with strong acids and oxidizing agents often in harsh and dangerous reaction conditions giving products of unknown precise structure. In this chapter, the controlled functionalization of graphene layers with a derivative of serinol is presented, avoiding toxic reagents and dangerous reaction conditions. The derivative is the bio‐based serinol pyrrole, obtained through the neat reaction of serinol with 2,5‐hexanedione; the graphitic substrate was high surface area graphite (HSAG) with high‐shape anisotropy. The functionalization reaction, characterized by a 85% atomic efficiency (water is the only by‐product), evolved with high yields leading to functionalized graphene layers through the controlled introduction of oxygen and nitrogen‐containing functional groups. Sustainable processes were adopted, such as ball milling and heating. The mechanism pathway, the characterization of HSAG and reaction products through a wide range of analytical methods, some successful applications of the adducts are discussed in this chapter. The functionalization left the bulk crystalline structure of the layers substantially unaltered. Stable dispersions in water and eco‐friendly solvents were prepared.
Part of the book: Graphene Materials