Robust Copper-Silica Core-Shell Nanoparticles


Technology # 17-07


Technology that replaces silver and gold with copper for 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. 




This product would be of interest to nanoparticle producers and distributors, who provide the research community with novel and made-to-order nanoparticles for niche applications. Additionally, this material functions as a highly efficient heterogeneous catalyst for organic synthesis, e.g. click chemistry reactions. Also, it will show activity in surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy techniques (SERS), replacing similar silver and gold nanoparticles. Other applications would include antimicrobial formulationst as weEI as theranostic applications, e.g. medical imaging contrast agents.




This method is the only approach that will produce copper core(40 nm), silica  nm) nanostructures, with preserved physical and chemical properties of the copper core in an aqueous environment for extended periods. These aqueous Cu-Si02 core-shell nanostructures may find use in sensing, catalysis, and antimicrobial applications. The ligandmediated microemulsion sol-gel method may provide a versatile approach to spontaneously disperse ligand-induced nanoparticle agglomerates and recover the individual particle dispersion for various applications in aqueous environments.




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 technology/invention is available for licensing. 

For interested parties seeking further information, feel free to contact:


Mark Allen Lanoue

Technology Manager / Tech Ventures

University of Arkansas

(479) 575-7243



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 Lanoue
Technology Manager
University of Arkansas
Jingyi Chen
Cameron Crane
Feng Wang
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