Surfactant-free synthesis of copper nanoparticles and gas phase integration in CNT-composite materials†
Copper nanoparticles (Cu-NPs) represent a viable low-cost alternative to replace bulk copper or other more expensive NPs (e.g. gold or silver) in various applications such as electronics for electrical contact materials or high conductivity materials. This study deals with the synthesis of well dispersed Cu-NPs by using an Ar + H2 microplasma using a solid copper precursor. The morphological analysis is carried out by electron microscopy showing particles with a mean diameter of 8 nm. Crystallinity and chemical analyses were also carried out by X-ray diffraction and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, respectively. In the second step, the Cu-NPs were successfully deposited onto porous carbon nanotube ribbons; surface coverage and the penetration depth of the Cu-NPs inside the CNT ribbon structure were investigated as these can be beneficial for a number of applications. The oxidation state of the Cu-NPs was also studied in detail under different conditions.