Robust Copper-Silica Core-Shell Nanoparticles


Plasmonic metal nanostructures have attracted considerable interests because of their superior ability to manipulate light at the nanoscale, which make them particularly useful for sensing, optical waveguiding, telecommunication, biomedicine, and plasmon-enhanced photocatalysis.  Several metals, such as silver, gold, and copper, exhibit plasmonic resonances in the visible region. Compared to silver and gold, copper is much cheaper, making it attractive for practical applications. While much effort has been devoted to the nanostructures made of silver and gold, only limited success has been met with copper. Copper nanoparticles display an intense localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) peak with a narrow band-width comparable to that of silver and gold nanoparticles, however, copper oxidizes readily in air, and the oxidation interferes with the plasmon properties, and thus degrades its usefulness. 


Several attempts have been made to overcome the oxidation of copper nanoparticles, but each has had drawbacks, in one case changing the surface shape of the copper nanoparticles, in another case requiring large amounts of a capping agent, or in yet another case, requiring that the copper nanoparticles be suspended in an organic solvent.


A new invention has solved these problems and provides a method by which copper nanoparticles can be practically used to replace silver or gold nanoparticles.  Copper nanoparticles produced by the new method will not oxidize in air, and can be suspended in water.  These copper silica nanoparticles can replace gold or silver nanoparticles and can be used for optical sensing, antimicrobial applications, biological applications as well as serving as a superior heterogeneous copper catalyst for chemical systems where high surface area water soluble copper is called for.


The new process for producing copper-silica core-shell nanoparticles is patent pending and rights are available for license.  For more information contact;


Mark Swaney




Patent Information:
App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Provisional United States 62/459,396 2/15/2017    
For Information, Contact:
Mark Swaney
Technology Licensing Officer
University of Arkansas
Jingyi Chen
Cameron Crane
Feng Wang
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