Facile synthesis of copper oxide nanoparticles and their applications in the photocatalytic degradation of acyclovir

Murendeni P. Ravele, Opeyemi A. Oyewo, Sam Ramaila, Lydia Mavuru, Damian C. Onwudiwe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Copper oxide nanoparticles were synthesized by a simple sol-gel route using copper (II) acetate monohydrate as a precursor at varying temperatures (300 °C, CuO(300); 350 °C, CuO(350) and 400 °C, CuO(400)), and were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and UV–visible absorption spectroscopy. While the lowest temperature of calcination (300 °C) yielded mixed phases of CuO and Cu2O, the higher temperature (350 °C and 400 °C) gave pure monoclinic crystal phase of CuO. The microscopic analysis revealed that both CuO samples exhibited spherical shape with the average particle size of 47.15 nm (350 ᵒC) and 47.67 nm (400 ᵒC). The crystallite size estimated from the XRD pattern showed average crystalline sizes of 32.16 and 32.45 nm at 350 and 400 °C respectively. Photocatalytic degradation of acyclovir (ACV) was conducted using the nanoparticles and the effect of process variables such as catalyst dosage and solution pH were evaluated in order to establish the efficiency of the CuO nanoparticles in the photocatalytic process. The photo-enhanced degradation of ACV using both CuO nanoparticles demonstrated high and comparable removal efficiency of greater than 81%, within 120 min irradiation time. The results also showed that the performance of both CuO is dependent. The efficient performance achieved with both CuO photocatalysts, without further modification, suggests that the synthesized CuO nanoparticles could be a potential photocatalyst to remove ACV-laden water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100479
JournalResults in Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Acyclovir
  • CuO nanoparticles
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Photocatalysis
  • Tenorite
  • Thermal decomposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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