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Comparison Study on the Stability of Copper Nanowires and Their Oxidation Kinetics in Gas and Liquid

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journal contribution
posted on 03.03.2016, 00:00 by Liang Xu, Yuan Yang, Zeng-Wen Hu, Shu-Hong Yu
The unsaturated “dangling” bonds on the surface of nanomaterials are extremely sensitive to the external environment, which gives nanomaterials a dual nature, i.e., high reactivity and poor stability. However, studies on the long-term effects of stability and reactivity of nanomaterials under practical conditions are rarely found in the literature and lag far behind other research. Furthermore, the long-term effects on the stability and reactivity of a nanomaterial without coating under practical conditions are seriously long-neglected. Herein, by choosing copper nanowire as an example, we systematically study the stability of copper nanowires (CuNWs) in the liquid and gas phase by monitoring the change of morphology, phase, and valence state of CuNWs during storage. CuNWs exhibit good dispersibility and durable chemical stability in polar organic solvents, while CuNWs stored in water or nonpolar organic solvents evolve into a mace-like structure. Additionally, fresh CuNWs are oxidized into CuO nanotubes with thin shells by heating in air. The activation energies of oxidation of CuNWs in the gas phase are determined by the Kissinger method. More importantly, the different oxidation pathways have significant effects on the final morphology, surface area, phase, optical absorption, band gap, and vibrational property of the oxidation products. Understanding the stability and reactivity of Cu nanostructures will add value to their storage and applications. This work emphasizes the significant issue on the stability of nanostructures, which should be taken into account from the viewpoint of their practical application.