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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 802174, 8 pages
Research Article

Understanding the Formation of the Self-Assembly of Colloidal Copper Nanoparticles by Surfactant: A Molecular Velcro

1CTI Renato Archer, Micro Systems Division, Campinas 13069-901, Brazil
2Applied Nanotechnology Laboratory, CTI Renato Archer, Campinas 13069-901, Brazil
3INCT NAMITEC, Campinas 13069-901, Brazil
4CTI Renato Archer, Information Displays Division, Campinas 13069-901, Brazil
5Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering, CCS/UNICAMP, Campinas 13083-970, Brazil

Received 27 August 2012; Revised 11 January 2013; Accepted 11 January 2013

Academic Editor: Zhenhui Kang

Copyright © 2013 Raquel Kely Bortoleto-Bugs et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Self-assembly procedure is employed to synthesize colloidal copper nanoparticles (ccNPs) with cationic surfactant in an environmentally friendly method. Scanning electron microscopy images provide a clear view of the ccNPs formed having an approximate size of 15 nm. The X-ray diffraction reveals that the ccNPs have the two types of copper oxide as well as the metallic copper. The new procedure shows that the cationic surfactant CTAB plays an important role in the understanding and development of self-assembly. There is a strong relationship between the ccNPs formation with the critical micelle concentration of the CTAB which influences both shape and size. The outcomes allowed the development of a molecular model for the ccNPs synthesis showing that the CTAB monomer on the surface has the function of a molecular velcro making the linkage of ccNPs to form an agglomerate with size around 600 nm. Finally, with the emerging new technologies, the synthesis of copper oxide takes a new perspective for their applicability in diverse integrated areas such as the flexible electronics and energy.