CuO Dispersion: Nanodispersion are composites consisting of solid nanoparticles with sizes varying generally from 1 to 100 nm dispersed in heat transfer liquids such as water, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol and so on. In the last decade, nanofluids have gained significant attention due to their enhanced thermal properties. A great deal of energy is expended heating industrial and residential buildings in the cold regions of the world.
Cupric oxide (CuO) has been studied as a p-type semiconductor material with narrow band gap because of the natural abundance of its starting material, low cost production processing, nontoxic nature, and its reasonably good electrical and optical properties. CuO dispersions are of great interest due to its potential applications in a wide variety of areas including electronic and optoelectronic devices, such as microelectromechanical systems, field effect transistors, electrochemical cells, gas sensors, magnetic storage media, solar cells, field emitters, and nanodevices for catalysis. It has also been recently emphasized that apart from the size, the shape of the nanostructure is equally important for controlling different properties such as optical absorption in CuO nanostructures and the catalytic activities.
In addition to some shared properties of metal oxide nanodispersions, such as TiO2, ZnO, WO3, and SnO2, CuO Dispersion have other unique magnetic and super hydrophobic properties. Furthermore, these nanostructures show very promising applications in heterogeneous catalysis in the complete conversion of hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide, enhancement of thermal conductivity of nanofluids, nanoenergetic materials, and super-hydrophobic surfaces or anode materials for lithium ion batteries (LIBs).
However, this material has not got attention of scientists at right level until recent years. Compared with other oxides of transition metal such as Fe2O3, TiO2, and ZnO only few reports have described the synthesis strategies adopted for CuO nanodispersions along with the introduction of their related applications.
Effect of Starting Materials
Solvent is one of the most important components of wet chemical methods as solvent has a crucial effect on the product. Due to the critical role of solvent, it is sometimes used to name a particular wet chemical approach, for example, alcohol-thermal synthesis or DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) route. Two primary criteria for the solvents used to synthesize CuO dispersion are as follows: (i) they dissolve copper and alkali hydroxide compounds and (ii) they can be washed away easily or decomposed during the washing and drying process without leaving any detrimental impurities or residues in the final nanoproduct. There are many secondary factors that great attention should be paid for the synthesis process such as viscosity, surface tension, volatility, reactivity, toxicity, and cost.
Salt and Alkali Metal Solution.
According to previous study, any kind of soluble copper salts could be used as precursor to prepare CuO nanodispersions without much difference or at least there seems to be no report on the influence of copper salt precursor. Various copper salts such as chloride, nitrate, sulfate, acetate were used to prepare CuO nanomaterials. However, particle size and uniformity of copper nanoparticles prepared from copper acetate seem better than those from inorganic copper salt. A reasonable explanation is that carboxylate groups are still adsorbed on the surface of the copper oxide nanoparticles and play the role of a surfactant and suppress nanoparticles from growth and aggregating process.
Field-Emission Properties of Copper Oxide Nanodispersion
Field emission, one of the most fascinating properties of nanostructured materials for the practical application in vacuum microelectronic devices such as ﬁeld-emission displays, X-ray sources, and microwave devices, has been studied extensively in the past few decades. During this time, carbon-based materials, especially carbon nano-tubes, were studied as promising materials for ﬁeld emitters due to their high mechanical stability, good conductivity, low turn-on ﬁeld, and large emission currents. Importantly, it appeared that metal oxide nanostructures emitters, as compared to car-bon nanotubes emitters, are more stable in harsh environments and have controllable electrical properties.
CuO first attracted attention of chemists as a good catalyst in organic reactions but recently discovered applications of CuO such as high-Tc superconductors, gas sensors, solar cells, emitters, electronic cathode materials also make this material a hot topic for physicists and materials science engineers. Some of the most interesting applications of CuO nanomaterials are sensing, photo catalyst and super capacitor are as follows:
Sensing Applications: It is surface conductivity that makes CuO an ideal material for semiconductor resistive gas sensor applications and in fact CuO nanomaterials were used for detection of many different compounds such as CO, hydrogen cyanide, and glucose. As sensing properties closely relate to the chemical reaction on the surface of sensor, the specific area is a key factor to achieve high sensitivity sensor. Due to the high surface area/volume ratio, the sensing property of CuO Dispersion was enhanced greatly. The shape of CuO nanostructures was also believed to affect significantly the sensing properties of CuO nanomaterials; for example, spherical crystals often show higher sensitivity than columnar one.
Photo catalyst and Solar Energy Conversion: Water pollution due to organic wastage from industry production has become a serious problem in the world today. Most of organic compounds in waste water are toxic and cannot be decomposed naturally so they need to be treated with care before disposal. CuO is a promising candidate due to low cost and abundance As a p type semiconductor of narrow band gap in visible region, CuO is expected to be a good material for application in photo catalyst and solar energy conversion. However, some researchers reported that CuO shows almost no or very little photo catalyst properties under visible light. Adding some amount of H2O2 could help to greatly improve the photo catalyst efficiency under visible light.
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