In Situ Growth of Cu/CuO/Cu2O Nanocrystals within Hybrid Nanofibers for Adsorptive Arsenic Removal

Elise Des Ligneris, Andrea Merenda, Xiao Chen, Jingshi Wang, Bernt Johannessen, Nicholas M. Bedford, Damien L. Callahan, Ludovic F. Dumée, Lingxue Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nanomaterials such as copper nanoparticles have attracted significant attention because of their interesting size- and shape-dependent properties. However, their increased instability remains a challenge. This study therefore focuses on the growth of copper/copper oxide nanocrystals within nanofiber scaffolds, achieved by thermal reduction of poly(vinyl alcohol) nanofibers cross-linked with copper(II) acetate. A reduction temperature of up to 800 °C in 15% H2balanced in N2was found to lead to the formation of copper-based nanofibers (CuNFs) of sub-250-nm diameter that presented a core-sheath morphology, resulting from copper efflorescence. Enrobing a hydrolysis-resistant polymer core, the sheath layer was found to be composed of a discrete distribution of polymer-embedded crystalline nanospheres with diameters below 20 nm and of round crystallites of up to 65 nm protruding at the surface of CuNFs. With a significant proportion in copper intermediary states, this heterogeneous material is promising for various applications benefiting from the surface reactivity and versatile efficiency from the simultaneous presence of a transition metal and transition-metal oxide. For instance, with a material dose of 0.20 g·L-1and an initial arsenic(V) concentration of 120 mg·L-1, CuNFs yielded up to 96.5% arsenic(V) removal. This route for the manufacture of copper hybrid nanofibers can be adapted to other transition metals and blends.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)14437-14446
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - 28 Oct 2022


  • arsenic removal
  • copper oxidation states
  • hybrid nanofibers
  • reductive adsorption
  • surface reactive nanostructures


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