Nanoparticles of Cu or Cu oxide dispersed in a polyimide (PI) film were fabricated by reaction of polyamic acid with a thin Cu film during imidization. In this paper, the thermal stability of the Cu or Cu oxide nanoparticles was investigated under various atmospheres. The PI/nanoparticle composites were heat-treated at 140 °C and 250 °C in air, N2, Ar, and 5% H2 atmospheres. Nanoparticles in the PI film were characterized by UV-VIS spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The optical absorption peaks originating from Cu or Cu2O nanoparticles were changed by heat-treatment in different atmospheres. When Cu nanoparticles were oxidized by heat-treatment in air, the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) peak originating from the Cu nanoparticles disappeared. The quantum confined absorption peak of Cu2O was not affected by heat-treatment in N2 or Ar. Cu2O nanoparticles were reduced by heat-treatment at 250 °C in 5% H2 atmosphere and a new SPR peak appeared. Our results show that Cu nanoparticles are easily oxidized and highly dense Cu nanoparticles can be formed by reducing Cu2O nanoparticles.
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