For the first time, copper nanoparticles were synthesized under microwave (MW) irradiation in the absence of any stabilizing agent. A 2-step synthetic approach was adopted working in basic ethanol solution and then ascorbic acid was added as a reducing reagent in the second step. The obtained copper nanoparticles were characterized by UV-vis spectroscopy, XRPD and TEM analysis. UV-vis spectra show an absorption peak at about 580-590 nm, typical of the plasma resonance of copper nanoparticles and XRPD analysis reveals that the complete reduction to metallic copper was reached at the end of the second step. Average sizes in the range 7-15 nm were ascertained through TEM microscopy. These copper nanoparticles are suitable for antibacterial and antistatic applications. The bactericidal effect was investigated in relation to the diameter of inhibition zone in disk diffusion tests on calf crust leather sample and an interesting antibacterial activity was verified against both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis and Candida albicans). Moreover, this treated leather showed encouraging antistatic behavior: in particular, equivalent circuital parameters were estimated via an impedance spectroscopy technique to have a first evaluation of the charge dissipation activity by volume conduction.
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