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Copper arsenate formula (CuAsO4), also called copper orthoarsenate or tricopper orthoarsenate, is a blue or bluish-green powder that is insoluble in water and alcohol but soluble in aqueous ammonium and dilute acids. It is sometimes used as a wood preservative and, under the name chromated copper arsenate or CCA, is widely used in the United States for treating electric poles. It is toxic to people and animals if inhaled or swallowed. In humans, exposure to high levels of CCA can lead to a variety of health problems including nosebleeds, itching, itchy or darkened skin and nervous system effects such as confusion and tingling in the hands and feet.
Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) is a mixture of chromium(VI) as chromic acid, arsenic(V) as arsenic pentoxide and copper(II) as cupric oxide. It is the most commonly used wood preservative in the world and is recognizable by the greenish tint it gives to timber. CCA is primarily manufactured by pyrometallurgical reduction roasting to gaseous arsenic sulphide and subsequent conversion to arsenic trioxide. More recently, sulphidation roasting and carbothermal reduction have been used to produce copper arsenate directly from ore concentrates.
Here we report the solution based synthesis, characterization and photocurrent measurements of earth abundant luzonite (Cu3AsS4; LUZ) and tennantite (Cu12As4S13; TEN) copper arsenic sulfide nanocrystals (NCs). The LUZ and TEN NCs are free from detectable impurities, have an average diameter of 7 and 63 nm, respectively, and exhibit band gap energies suitable for solar energy conversion.