Copper nanoparticles have been synthesized in ethylene glycol (EG) using copper sulphate as a precursor and vanadium sulfate as an atypical reductant being active at room temperature. We have described a technique for a relatively simple preparation of such a reagent, which has been electrolytically produced without using standard procedures requiring an inert atmosphere and a mercury cathode. Several stabilizing agents have been tested and cationic capping agents have been discarded owing to the formation of complex compounds with copper ions leading to insoluble phases contaminating the metallic nanoparticles. The elemental copper nanoparticles, stabilized with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), have been characterized for composition by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and for size by dynamic light scattering (DLS), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), giving a size distribution in the range of 40–50 nm for both stabilizing agents. From a methodological point of view, the process described here may represent an alternative to other wet-chemical techniques for metal nanoparticle synthesis in non-aqueous media based on conventional organic or inorganic reductants.
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