Selective synthesis of clinoatacamite Cu2(OH)3Cl and tenorite CuO nanoparticles by pH control

Christian Engelbrekt, Phillip Malcho, Jonas Andersen, Lijuan Zhang, Kenny Ståhl, Bin Li, Jun Hu, Jingdong Zhang

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Copper nanomaterials play a role as catalysts in sustainable energy technology and sensor devices. We present a one-pot synthesis for the
selective preparation of phase-pure clinoatacamite (Cu2(OH)3Cl) and cupric oxide (CuO) nanoparticles by controlling the pH of the solution. The effect of pH on the phase of the product was systematically investigated utilizing 2-(N-morpholino)ethanesulfonic acid (MES) buffer. Here, the MES buffer was crucial for the synthesis. It not only allowed for selective synthesis by controlling pH but also guided the morphology of the CuO nanoparticles. In addition, it directed the growth of Cu2(OH)3Cl to provide pure clinoatacamite without the presence of related poly-
morphs. The products were characterized by transmission electron microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, ultraviolet–visible light spectroscopy, X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), scanning transmission X-ray microscopy and atomic force microscopy. Infrared spectroscopy was essential for characterization of closely related polymorphs of Cu2(OH)3Cl indistinguishable by XRD. A plausible mechanism has been proposed and discussed for the formation of the CuO and Cu2(OH)3Cl nanostructures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2561
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number8
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Clinoatacamite
  • pH control
  • Green synthesis
  • FTIR
  • CuO
  • Cu 2 (OH) 3 Cl

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