Mikaila Hunt, Southern Utah University
Copper nanoparticles have applications in many fields including antibiotics and engineering nanofluids. The difficulty with producing copper nanoparticles, compared to synthesizing gold or silver nanoparticles, is that copper nanoparticles oxidize when exposed to oxygen. Oxidation causes nanoparticles to dissolve. We have discovered that hydrochloric acid dissolves copper metal when sonicated. This is a result not expected thermodynamically. Likewise, at low hydrochloric acid concentrations copper nanoparticles form when the solution is sonicated. Neither of these results are expected and neither have been used to explore methods for copper nanoparticle synthesis. Using these findings, we developed a new method to synthesize copper nanoparticles from bulk copper metal. We are testing how controlling the level of oxygen effects the nanoparticles produced. We are working to find optimal oxygen concentration as well as hydrochloric acid concentration to consistently synthesize nanoparticles. We will report on our results up to this point.