Copper nanoparticle synthesis using Picea glauca ‘Conica’

(1) Johns Creek High School, (2) Windsor Holdings, LLC
Cover photo for Copper nanoparticle synthesis using <i>Picea glauca</i> ‘Conica’
Image credit: Annika Joshi

Copper nanoparticles (CuNPs) are frequently used as catalysts, antibacterial agents, electromagnetic interference shielding, and more, and are relatively inexpensive. Typically, synthesizing CuNPs requires toxic chemicals. Additionally, millions of Picea glauca ‘Conica’, or spruce, trees and plants are sold at Christmas every year, enjoyed in-season, and then discarded. There is great potential to keep these trees and plants out of landfills by using their leaves in alternate applications. We hypothesized that P. glauca leaves could be used as a non-toxic reducing agent to synthesize CuNPs due to their high antioxidant content. We synthesized CuNPs by adding an extract of P. glauca to copper sulfate, using starch as a capping agent. We obtained transmission electron microscope (TEM) images of the CuNPs and analyzed their morphologies using ImageJ software. The particles were predominantly spherical in shape, with an average diameter of 18.79 ± 5.99 nm. Energy-dispersive (EDS) showed absorption peaks of copper (Cu). We conclude that P. glauca leaf extract acts as an excellent reducing agent. Furthermore, biosynthesis using P. glauca is environmentally friendly, does not use toxic chemicals, and takes advantage of copper as an abundant resource. Ultimately, the CuNPs produced will be beneficial, as CuNPs are integral to medicine, electronics, and a variety of industries.

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