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Copper sulfide is an important industrial mineral with many uses. It has a metallic appearance and is black in color, containing small, spiky crystals. It is soluble in nitric acid and can be separated from sulfur by electrolytic decomposition. It is a raw material for the production of copper (I) sulfate, copper sulphate and cupric sulfide. The chemical is also used in antifouling paints and for the preparation of mixed catalysts. It is toxic and corrosive.
The copper sulfide mineralogy differs between different types of deposits. The differences occur in the crystal structure, a property that determines the properties of the minerals. For example, copper oxide ores require higher calcination temperatures than copper sulfide ores. The sulfide minerals are usually found in supergene environments and are therefore more resistant to leaching with sulfuric acid.
Unlike oxide minerals, copper sulfides are relatively easy to synthesize from elemental precursors. They also have good transport characteristics and can be deposited in thin films. Furthermore, they have the advantage of being able to be processed using wet chemical synthesis.
This paper reports the synthesis of monodisperse copper sulfide nanocrystals from single-source copper dithiocarbamate complexes by thermolysis with hexadecylamine (HDA). The resulting HDA-capped CuS nanoparticles show high-performance in terms of optical and structural properties, including UV-visible and photoluminescence spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersing X-ray spectroscopy. These results indicate that the capping agent can play an important role in the morphology and structure of the transition-metal chalcogenide materials.