Synthesis and characterization of cuprous oxide nanoparticles using plant extract        


Cuprous Oxide (Cu2O) is a coloured semiconductor metal oxide. It is nontoxic economical and easy to prepare. Cu2O is gaining interest for various applications due to its optoelectronics properties.  It is a well-known p-type semiconductor with theoretical direct band gap of 2.2eV [1] which makes it a promising material for the conversion of solar energy into electrical or chemical energy. It allows fabrication of high efficiency solar cells (theoretical efficiency ~ 18 %) [2].Other areas of application of Cu2O include chemical industry, biosensors, Lithium ion batteries,  photo catalysis [6], photoluminescence [7], optoelectronic and gas sensors [8]. Main advantage of Cu2O is that it has much lower cost as compared to other metal based catalytic systems. Cuprous oxide find wide range of application in various fields like chemical industry, biosensors, Lithium ion batteries,  photo catalysis, photoluminescence, optoelectronic and gas sensors. Hence present study would be able to provide cuprous oxide material with different morphology synthesized from greener route for various applications.

       Various physical and chemical methods have been used for production of Cu2O. However, these methods required the use of very reactive and toxic reducing agents such as sodium borohydride and hydrazine hydrate, which causes undesired detrimental impacts on the environment, plant and animal life. In order to develop a greener route tea extract was used as a reducing agent in the present study for the synthesis of Cu2O nanoparticles.

  1. Research Envisaged

There is need to develop facile, effective and reliable green chemistry processes for the production of metal oxides. There is still a need to find an economically acceptable and environmentally friendly, natural reducing source for synthesis of cuprous oxide which has not been studied yet widely. Tea extract contain natural reducing agents in the form of polyphenols. Tea leaves contain more than 2000 components including polyphenols, alkaloids, vitamins, polysaccharides, lipids and pigments. Hence in the present study a one-step method was used which removes use of surfactant, capping agent, or template and follows green chemistry principle. Hence in the present study cuprous oxide was synthesized in a greener route in presence of tea extract. The synthesized products were also characterized by FTIR, XRD and TEM etc.



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[3]Neha Topnani, “Wet Synthesis of Copper Oxide Nanopowder. International Journal of Green Nanotechnology”,  Mater. Sci. Eng.Vol. 1, pp.M67-M73, 2009.

[4] R.Ramanathan,Bhargava, Suresh K andVipulBansal,“Biological Synthesis of  Copper/Copper Oxide Nanoparticles”,Chemca., pp. 18-21, 2011.

[5] D. Gnanasangeetha and Thambavani D., “One Pot Synthesis of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles via Chemical and Green Method”, Research Journal of Material  Sciences, Vol. 1(7), pp. 1-8, 2013.

[6] Chandra.S,A.Kumar and P.K. Tomar, “Synthesis and characterization of copper nanoparticles by reducing agent”, J. Saudi Chem. SOC., Vol. 18(2),  pp. 149-153, 2014.

[7] R.Ramanathan, Bhargava, Suresh K andVipulBansal,“Biological Synthesis of Copper/Copper Oxide Nanoparticles”,Chemca, pp. 18-21. 2013.

[8]  K.S Kavitha, D Rakshith., H.U Kavitha,H. C Yashwantha Ra, B.P Hariniand Satish S, “Plants as Green Source towards Synthesis of Nanoparticles”, Int. res. j. biol. sci., Vol.  2(6), pp.66-76, June 2013.








  1. Summary and Conclusion:

      Synthesis of Cu2O nanoparticles has been performed successfully using the green chemistry approach by using tea extract as reducing and stabilizing agent in a simple lab setup. The particles produced are reproducible and have high stability. XRD results confirm formation of single phase Cu2O nanoparticles with cubical morphology. The average size of the particle calculated by Scherrer formula was 45.5 nm.  The absorption peak at 617 cm-1due to Cu(I)-O vibrations is seen in the FTIR spectra. This is in close agreement with that of Cu2O reported value. The spectrum excludes also the formation of cupric oxide (CuO) impurity, since CuO always shows three obvious peaks around 588, 534 and 480 cm-1, which can be attributed to the vibrations of Cu (II)-O bonds. Hence FTIR data confirms formation of pure cuprous oxide by the present chemical process using tea extract. The direct band gap (Eg) value calculated from UV-Vis spectra was found to be 2.55eV of synthesized Cu2O, which is higher than the theoretical direct band gap due to nano size of the particles. The average particle size of cuprous oxide as per TEM analysis is 3-4 nm. The entire procedure for the synthesis was economical and simple.

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