Mild Synthesis of Copper Nanoparticles with Enhanced Oxidative Stability and Their Application in Antibacterial Films

Copper nanoparticles possess unique physical and chemical properties; however, their application is often restricted, owing to their tendency to oxidize. In this work, we prepared copper nanoparticles with enhanced oxidative stability via a simple and low-cost method, where a modified starch was used as an environmentally friendly reducing agent and biocompatible polyethylenimine was used as a stabilizer. The prepared copper nanoparticles could be stored in air for at least 6 months without any oxidation in a dried state. Interestingly, our synthesis could even be performed at room temperature with a longer reaction time. We used various characterization methods to study the reaction mechanism. The prepared copper nanoparticles were further uniformly doped into an agar film, and this composite showed excellent bacterial killing efficiency, owing to the antibacterial properties of the copper nanoparticles. Our composite film shows potential for various clinical applications, such as wound dressing materials.