Lockheed Martin Corporation (Bethesda, MD)

These processes are used to synthesize metal nanoparticles. The process involves the reaction of an insoluble complex of a metal salt using a reducing agent within an enzymatic reaction mix that contains the primary amine first surfactant and a secondary amine second surfactant and a diamine-chelating agent as a third surfactant. The process of making copper nanoparticles is to create an aqueous solution that includes the copper salt, a principal amino first surfactant and an additional surfactant amine 2. This allows for an insoluble copper salt compound to form in this solution. A second solution containing the reducing agent is joined with the insoluble substance. Copper nanoparticles are created from the insoluble complicated. The copper nanoparticles typically measure 10 nanometers in size, with a maximum of 3 nm to 6 nanometers. They can also be found with a melting point of around 200.degree. C.

While lead was utilized in a variety of industrial applications in the past, most commercial products must be free of lead. In 2006, regulations were issued by the European Union that required the removal of lead from solder and coatings used in electronic components. Other countries have issued similar regulations.

Electronics and similar connections made using lead-based soldering materials are typically very reliable, and large capital investments have been made in manufacturing infrastructure. There are concerns regarding the reliability of other soldering methods and materials, following the global elimination of lead-based solderingmaterials. There are numerous options for conventional lead-based soldering substances and the Sn/Ag/Cu method (SAC) being among the most popular. But, these substitutes typically have disadvantages that render them unsuitable for environments with extreme temperatures such as those used in military, vehicles and space vehicles. In particular, the SAC system is characterized by a significantly greater eutectic melting point (e.g., m.p. approximately.217.degree. C.) than does the traditional solder (m.p. C. for 183.degree. C. for Sn/Pb of 63/37 degrees and 188.degree. C. for 63/37 Sn/Pb , or 188.degree. Furthermore silver is an expensive component in the SAC system and there is not enough silver production capacity to totally replace lead-based soldering materials in the SAC system. From a financial standpoint, the SAC system could lead to significant increases in production costs due to the expense of silver, as well as the more durable components needed to withstand its greater processing temperature. SAC systems can also cause the formation of tin whiskers and increase the risk of electrical shorts.

As replacements for traditional soldering made from lead, various compositions that include metal nanoparticles were suggested. Nanoparticles may exhibit chemical and physical properties that sometimes differ significantly from the characteristics observed in the bulk metal. Metal nanoparticles that have smaller than 20 nanometers could have melting points much lower than the bulk metal’s. Particularly, copper nanoparticles may exhibit an fusion temperature that is comparable to conventional lead-based soldering compounds. If the copper nanoparticles are 10 nanometers or less in size, the copper nanoparticles can have a fusion temperature of about 200.degree. C. or less, which results in processing temperatures similar to traditional lead-based soldering material. Nanoparticles of copper can be considered as replacements for soldering products with high temperatures, like AuSn, as they have a lower initial temperature, and significantly more reflowing temperature later on.

Nanoparticles of copper are an increasingly popular option because of their compatibility with conventional soldering techniques. However, it’s still difficult to create monodisperse copper particles at the scale needed for commercial production. Further, it can be difficult to reverse the protection of copper nanoparticles to stop their agglomeration each other. Protection can sometimes be accomplished with a thin oxide coating or a surfactant, includingpolymers such as polyvinylpyrrolidone, but oftentimes these agents cannot be effectively removed in order that the copper nanoparticles can function as desired in soldering applications. They can also introduce contaminants, or be considered to be contaminants, which could adversely impact the characteristics of copper nanoparticles. These properties can influence electrical and thermal conductivity, as well as strength of the mechanical structure and fracture toughness.

In light of the above reasons, it is extremely beneficial for the science of process that can be scaled for the production of monodisperse metal particles, especially copper nanoparticles with a size of 10nm and less. This invention addresses this need and offers related advantages.

In various embodiments, processes described herein include reacting an insoluble compound of a metallic salt and a reducing agent in an enzymatic reaction mixture that includes one surfactant, a second surfactant, as well as a third surfactant to create metalnanoparticles. The first surfactant is composed of a first amino acid. The second surfactant contains an additional amine. The third surfactant contains diamine as a chelating agent.

In different ways, the methods described herein involve forming a first solution containing copper salt, a primary surfactant, another surfactant and a third surfactant, allowing an insoluble complex of the copper salt to form fromthe first solution; combining another solution containing reduction agent together with the insoluble compound, thereby forming a reaction mixture that forms copper nanoparticles out of the insoluble compound. The first surfactant contains a primary amine. Thesecond surfactant contains a secondary amine. The third surfactant is diamine-chelating agent.

In some embodiments, copper nanoparticles produced through the methods described herein are fusion temperature of about 200.degree. C. or lower , and comprise at least a portion of a first surfactant an additional surfactant, as well as a third surfactant. The first surfactant has a primary amine. The second surfactant has a secondary amine. The third surfactant contains a diamine chelating agent.

To assist you to understand the details of the disclosure the preceding has provided a broad outline of the most important aspects. Additional advantages and features of this disclosure will be explained hereinafter,which form the subject of the claims.

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