Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the graphene era

  • Xiao-Ye WangEmail author
  • Xuelin Yao
  • Klaus MüllenEmail author
Open Access
Invited Reviews


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been the subject of interdisciplinary research in the fields of chemistry, physics, materials science, and biology. Notably, PAHs have drawn increasing attention since the discovery of graphene, which has been regarded as the “wonder” material in the 21st century. Different from semimetallic graphene, nanoscale graphenes, such as graphene nanoribbons and graphene quantum dots, exhibit finite band gaps owing to the quantum confinement, making them attractive semiconductors for next-generation electronic applications. Researches based on PAHs and graphenes have expanded rapidly over the past decade, thereby posing a challenge in conducting a comprehensive review. This study aims to interconnect the fields of PAHs and graphenes, which have mainly been discussed separately. In particular, by selecting representative examples, we explain how these two domains can stimulate each other. We hope that this integrated approach can offer new opportunities and further promote synergistic developments in these fields.


polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon graphene graphene nanoribbon nanographene graphene quantum dot carbon materials 



The authors thank all of their distinguished collaborators and research associates who enabled the achievements partly described in this article. This article is a tribute to scientific interaction and its benefit. This work was supported by the European Union Projects GENIUS (ITN-264694), UPGRADE, MoQuaS, and Graphene Flagship (CNECT-ICT-604391), European Research Council (ERC)-Adv.-Grant 267160 (NANOGRAPH), the Office of Naval Research Basic Research Challenge (BRC) Program (molecular synthesis and characterization), the Max Planck Society, the German Chemical Industry Association, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. BASF SE and Samsung are gratefully acknowledged. X.Y. is thankful for a fellowship from the China Scholarship Council.

Open access funding provided by Max Planck Society.


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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Polymer ResearchMainzGermany
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Elemento-Organic Chemistry, College of ChemistryNankai UniversityTianjinChina

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