Red-Emitting Copper Nanoclusters: From Bulk-Scale Synthesis to Catalytic Reduction

Kingshuk Basu, Subir Paul, Rajkumar Jana, Ayan Datta, Arindam Banerjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


A large-scale, easy synthesis of red fluorescent copper nanoclusters (CuNCs) from a cheap source copper acetate, monohydrate has been reported. A proteinaceous amino acid cysteine has been used to stabilize these clusters at room temperature. These nanoclusters have been thoroughly characterized by UV-vis absorption, fluorescence spectroscopy, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) spectrometry, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray powder diffraction analysis, cyclic voltametry (CV), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. MALDI-TOF analysis indicates that the nanocluster is a Cu 5 (Cys) 3 species. Computational studies revealed the energy optimized structure of Cu 5 (Cys) 3 with most possible arrangements of Cu atoms and their interactions with stabilizing ligands. It is evident from the structure that vacant Cu sites are available; hence, these sites can be used for binding with substrate molecules for catalytic reactions. Interestingly, these as-synthesized red-emitting nanocluster catalyze the degradation of 4-nitrophenol (toxic chemical used in industries) to almost nontoxic 4-aminophenol at room temperature. These nanoclusters (powdered) can also be recycled as catalyst for another time. This type of new nanocatalyst for the organic transformation of a toxic to nontoxic material holds future promise for the development of novel large-scale nanocatalytic materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1998-2007
Number of pages10
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 22 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Catalytic reduction of toxic nitro-aromatic compounds
  • Copper nanoclusters
  • Large-scale synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


Dive into the research topics of 'Red-Emitting Copper Nanoclusters: From Bulk-Scale Synthesis to Catalytic Reduction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this