Plasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1209–1222 | Cite as

Synthesis of Copper-Based Nanostructures in Liquid Environments by Means of a Non-equilibrium Atmospheric Pressure Nanopulsed Plasma Jet

  • Anna LiguoriEmail author
  • Tommaso Gallingani
  • Dilli Babu Padmanaban
  • Romolo Laurita
  • Tamilselvan Velusamy
  • Gunisha Jain
  • Manuel Macias-Montero
  • Davide Mariotti
  • Matteo GherardiEmail author
Original Paper


The influence of the liquid composition on the chemical and morphological properties of copper-based nanostructures synthesized by a non-equilibrium atmospheric plasma treatment is investigated and discussed. The synthesis approach is simple and environmentally friendly, employs a non-equilibrium nanopulsed atmospheric pressure plasma jet as a contactless cathode and a Cu foil as immersed anode. The process was studied using four distinct electrolyte solutions composed of distilled water and either NaCl + NaOH, NaCl only or NaOH only at two different concentrations, without the addition of any copper salts. CuO crystalline structures with limited impurities (e.g. Cu and Cu(OH)2 phases) were produced from NaCl + NaOH containing solutions, mainly CuO and CuCl2 structures were synthesized in the electrolyte solution containing only NaCl and no synthesis occurred in solutions containing only NaOH. Both aggregated and dispersed nanostructures were produced in the NaCl + NaOH and NaCl containing solutions. Reaction pathways leading to the formation of the nanostructures are proposed and discussed.


Non-equilibrium atmospheric pressure plasma Synthesis of nanostructures Plasma–liquid interactions Reaction pathways X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy Transmission electron microscopy 



This work was partially supported by the PLASMAT Project (Alma Mater Studiorum—Università di Bologna, FARB Grant) and by COST Action TD1208 Electrical Discharges with Liquids for Future Applications. The authors would like to acknowledge Prof. Vittorio Colombo, Prof. Maria Letizia Focarete and Prof. Catia Arbizzani for the fruitful scientific conversations. This work was also partially supported by EPSRC (Award n.EP/M024938/1 and n.EP/K022237/1).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Liguori
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tommaso Gallingani
    • 2
  • Dilli Babu Padmanaban
    • 3
  • Romolo Laurita
    • 2
  • Tamilselvan Velusamy
    • 3
  • Gunisha Jain
    • 3
  • Manuel Macias-Montero
    • 3
  • Davide Mariotti
    • 3
  • Matteo Gherardi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Advanced Mechanics and Materials, Interdepartmental Center for Industrial Research (AMM-ICIR)Alma Mater Studiorum-Università di BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Industrial Engineering (DIN)Alma Mater Studiorum-Università di BolognaBolognaItaly
  3. 3.Nanotechnology and Integrated Bio-Engineering Centre (NIBEC)Ulster UniversityNewtownabbey, Co AntrimNorthern Ireland, UK

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