A nanoparticle is a particle having a size less than or equal to 100 nanometers. The impact of nanotechnology, has been rising rapidly, on human life through its application in industries such as electronics, pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics, space, and environmental science. Nanoparticles are employed in applications ranging from conventional uses such as coloring agent to modern-day biomedical applications.
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Nanoparticles of different elements or compounds can be produced using either natural processes or chemical synthesis. There are different synthesis methods for nanoparticles such as chemical reaction, sol-gel method, co-precipitation method, and solid-state reaction. In the recent years, a new technique called green synthesis method has been developed. Its advantages include low cost, simple preparation technique, eco-friendly, and less use of toxic materials. Green synthesis method utilizes plant extracts as reducing agents for the synthesis of nanoparticles.
The copper nanoparticles can be synthesized in the powdered form as well as in suspension of oil, ethanol, and acetone, among others. Characterization of synthesized nanoparticles is carried out through different methods such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high-resolution SEM, and X-Ray diffraction.
The primary cause of innovation in the field of nanotechnology is its increasing utilization in the medical industry. Copper has applications in electrical, catalytic, optical, biomedical, and antimicrobial applications, due to which it is one of the most commonly used materials. Copper metal ions and its compounds have been employed in medical applications for a long time.
Properties of copper nanoparticles are different from copper bulk metal. Additionally, properties of copper nanoparticles can be easily altered by varying their sizes, shapes, and chemical environment. Therefore, they are used in different applications than where copper metal is used. Copper nanoparticles are constantly tested for new and emerging applications.
Copper nanoparticles are majorly used as antimicrobial agents. Copper is toxic to microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi; however, it does not cause harm to animal cells. This property is also observed in copper nanoparticles. Studies using green synthesis method, where different plants are being used for the synthesis of copper nanoparticles, are being conducted.
Antimicrobial property of copper nanoparticles is utilized by adding them to plastics, textiles, and coatings. These nanoparticles are also used in electromagnetic (EMI) shielding and in the preparation of high strength alloys. They are used as sintering additives & capacitor materials, superficial conductive coating processing of metal & non-ferrous metal, catalyst for chemical reactions, and highly thermal conductive materials.
Many printed electronics, displays, and conductive thin films use conductive inks and pastes containing noble metals that are very expensive. Copper nanomaterials can act as a substitute for these noble metals.
Based on region, the global copper nanoparticles market can be segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. The market is expected to witness robust expansion in most of the developed economies around the globe. In terms of market share, North America is leading the global copper nanoparticles market. This trend is likely to continue in the near future. Abundance of raw materials is one of the factor contributing to the dominant share of the market in North America. Initiatives by the U.S. Government to support research & innovation activities are also contributing for the market expansion in the region.
In terms of growth potential, the market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to lead the market in the next few years. Expansion of this region can be attributed to the presence of major market players, private and public collaborations and investments, and increasing research & development projects.
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Key players in the copper nanoparticles market include TEKNA, Strem Chemicals Inc., Nano Technology Inc., IoLiTec Ionic Liquids Technologies GmbH, Meliorum Technologies Inc., QuantumSphere Inc., and EPRUI Nanoparticles & Microspheres Co. Ltd.
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