NanoFASE Pristine Particle: Dysprosium-labelled Copper Hydroxide Nanowires

Copper hydroxide [Cu(OH)2] nanoforms are commercially available as a pesticide for agricultural use.

NanoFASE looked at the fate of copper-based nanowires as a pesticide application. For the requirements of this experiment, partner University of Birmingham produced Dysprosium-doped copper hydroxide Nanowires nanowires [Dy-Cu(OH)2 NWs] with a polyethylene glycol (PEG) coating to stabilise. These are designed to mimic commercial Cu(OH)2 pesticides but also enable tracking at low concentrations and allow assessment of bio-uptake form (NW versus Cu2+ ions). Mean particle diameter was ~ 20nm and mean length was > 10 microns.

All Dy signal detected was associated with Cu(OH)2 nanowires, but the Dy was not homogeneously distributed.

 Synthesis procedure


8 mmol Cu(NO3)2 and 0.2 mmol DyCl3•6H2O were dissolved in 100 mL H2O in the presence of 4 g m-PEG (MW 5000) under stirring at room temperature to form a clear light blue solution. To the Cu/Dy solution, 20 mL 10 mol/L NaOH solution was quickly added. The blue slurry was left under stirring at room temperature for over 4 hours. The blue precipitate was collected by centrifuge, and washed with H2O three times. 

Figure 1: a) TEM b) HRTEM c) XRD and d) EDX of 10% Dy-doped Cu(OH)2

Occurs in

              Agricultural soil                                    Organisms (or plants)

Figure 2. A) TEM (supported by spICP-MS analysis and conversion of mass to volume to size; see also spICP-MS procedure; B) TEM; C) Confocal microscopy and/or EDX mapping in TEM, and following digestion of tissue, by detection of both elements using ICP-MS; D) High resolution TEM.

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NanoFASE Case Study: Fate of Cu(OH)2 nanowires utilised as pesticides

Unique NanoFASE Knowledge Base ID number=NP00686
Consult the characterisation data here.

Kent RD & Vikesland PJ (2016) Dissolution and Persistence of Copper-Based Nanomaterials in Undersaturated Solutions with Respect to Cupric Solid Phases. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2016, 50, 13, pp. 6772-6781.



Xianjin Cui

University of Birmingham UoB  



Iseult Lynch

University of Birmingham