Abstract: Copper has received considerable attention for conductive nanocomposites as an alternative to costly silver or gold. However, practical application has been impeded by its susceptibility to oxidation in air. Here we report a novel scalable synthesis method of non-oxidized copper nanoparticles (InSituCuNPs) by pre-mixing and in-situ reducing copper formate-(butylamine-octylamine) complex inside soft epoxy matrix. The solid–liquid phase change of the copper formate complex, during the nanocomposite spark-plasma-sintering process, promotes uniform dispersion. Even the outermost atoms of InSituCuNPs are not oxidized since they are surrounded by the thick matrix polymer as soon as in-situ reduced into metallic copper, resulting in high electrical (15,048 Scm−1) and thermal (28.4 Wm−1K−1) conductivities of the nanocomposite. Furthermore, a small addition of 1-dimensional carbon nanotubes decorated with 0-dimensional copper nanoparticles (<4 nm), together with bi-functionalization, dramatically enhances connectivity between the InSituCuNPs, resulting in air-stable and record-high 31,974 Scm−1 and 74.1 Wm−1K−1 for isotropic copper-based nanocomposites. The nanocomposite also provides a small thermal resistance (2.64?×?10−6 m2KW−1) and excellent heat dissipation performance.

In-situ reduced non-oxidized copper nanoparticles in nanocomposites with extraordinary high electrical and thermal conductivity
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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2021.04.012