Controlled synthesis of water-dispersible faceted crystalline copper nanoparticles and their catalytic properties

Yanfei Wang, Ankush V. Biradar, Gang Wang, Krishna K. Sharma, Cole T. Duncan, Sylvie Rangan, Tewodros Asefa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


We report a solution-phase synthetic route to copper nanoparticles with controllable size and shape. The synthesis of the nanoparticles is achieved by the reduction of copper(II) salt in aqueous solution with hydrazine under air atmosphere in the presence of poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) as capping agent. The results suggest that the pH plays a key role for the formation of pure copper nanoparticles, whereas the concentration of PAA is important for controlling the size and geometric shape of the nanoparticles. The average size of the copper nanoparticles can be varied from 30 to 80 nm, depending on the concentration of PAA. With a moderate amount of PAA, faceted crystalline copper nanoparticles are obtained. The as-synthesized copper nanoparticles appear red in color and are stable for weeks, as confirmed by UV/Vis and X-ray photoemission (XPS) spectroscopy. The faceted crystalline copper nanoparticles serve as an effective catalyst for N-arylation of heterocycles, such as the C-N coupling reaction between p-nitrobenzyl chloride and morpholine producing 4-(4-nitrophenyl) morpholine in an excellent yield under mild reaction conditions. Furthermore, the nanoparticles are proven to be versatile as they also effectively catalyze the three-component, one-pot Mannich reaction between p-substituted benzaldehyde, aniline, and acetophenone affording a 100% conversion of the limiting reactant (aniline).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10735-10743
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - Sep 17 2010


  • Copper
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Nanoparticles
  • Poly(acrylic acid)
  • Shape control
  • Size control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Organic Chemistry

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