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Shungite as loosely packed fractal nets of graphene-based quantum dots.



The current paper presents the first attempt to recreate the origin of shungite carbon at microscopic level basing on knowledge accumulated by graphene science. The main idea of our approach is that different efficacy of chemical transformation of primarily generated graphene flakes (aromatic lamellae in geological literature), subjected to oxidation/reduction reactions in aqueous environment, lays the foundation of the difference in graphite and shungite derivation under natural conditions. Low-efficient reactions in the case of graphite do not prevent from the formation of large graphite layers while highefficient oxidation/reduction transforms the initial graphene flakes into those of reduced graphene oxide of ~1nm in size. Multistage aggregation of these basic structural units, attributed to graphene quantum dots of shungite, leads to the fractal structure of shungite carbon thus exhibiting it as a new allotrope of natural carbon. The suggested microscopic view has finds a reliable confirmation when analyzing the available empirical data.


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