Nanomaterials are being applied in more and more fields within engineering and technology. One of the key benefits of nanomaterials is that their properties differ from bulk material of the same composition. The properties of nanoparticles, for example, can be easily altered by varying their size, shape, and chemical environment.
Copper is a Block D, Period 4 element. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. The morphology of copper nanoparticles is round, and they appear as a brown to black powder.
Copper is found to be too soft for some applications, and hence it is often combined with other metals to form numerous alloys such as brass, which is a copper-zinc alloy.
Copper nanoparticles are graded as highly flammable solids, therefore they must be stored away from sources of ignition. They are also known to be very toxic to aquatic life.
The chemical properties of copper nanoparticles are outlined in the following table.
||[Ar] 3d10 4s1
The physical properties of copper nanoparticles are given in the following table.
The thermal properties of copper nanoparticles are provided in the table below.
Copper nanoparticles can be manufactured using numerous methods. The electrodeposition method is considered by many as one of the most suitable and easiest. The electrolyte used for the process is an acidified aqueous solution of copper sulfate with specific additives.
A spongy layer of copper particles is deposited on the cathode surface when the input DC voltage is varied with a constant current. The particles are typically characterized and assessed by XRD and UV-Vis. The surface morphological characterization is done using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
Damp reunion tends to affect the dispersion performance and usable properties of copper nanoparticles; hence this material has to be sealed under vacuum and stored in a cool and dry room. It should not be exposed to air, and should not be under stress.
The key applications of copper nanoparticles are listed below:
- Acts as an anti-biotic, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal agent when added to plastics, coatings, and textiles
- Copper diet supplements with efficient delivery characteristics
- High strength metals and alloys
- EMI shielding
- Heat sinks and highly thermal conductive materials
- Efficient catalyst for chemical reactions and for the synthesis of methanol and glycol
- As sintering additives and capacitor materials
- Conductive inks and pastes containing Cu nanoparticles can be used as a substitute for very expensive noble metals used in printed electronics, displays, and transmissive conductive thin film applications
- Superficial conductive coating processing of metal and non-ferrous metal
- Production of MLCC internal electrode and other electronic components in electronic slurry for the miniaturization of microelectronic devices;
- As nanometal lubricant additives
Copper nanoparticles application research is ongoing to discover their potential dielectric, magnetic, electrical, optical, imaging, catalytic, biomedical and bioscience properties.