Biomimetic synthesis of CuInS2 nanoparticles: Characterization, cytotoxicity, and application in quantum dots sensitized solar cells

C. Arriaza-Echanes, J. L. Campo-Giraldo, C. P. Quezada, R. Espinoza-González, P. Rivas-Álvarez, M. Pacheco, D. Bravo, J. M. Pérez-Donoso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


CuInS2 (CIS) nanoparticles have unique chemical, toxicological and optoelectronic properties that favor their technological applications. In the present work we report a novel one step biomimetic method for the aqueous synthesis of CIS nanoparticles, that is also low cost and environmentally friendly. This biomimetic method uses only CuSO4 and InCl3 as precursor salts, and the biological molecule glutathione as sulfur donor and stabilizer of the nanoparticles (NPs). The reaction is performed at low temperatures, under aerobic conditions and atmospheric pressure. CIS nanoparticles produced by our biomimetic method exhibit fluorescence emission between 650 and 700 nm when excited at 500 nm. A size between 10 and 15 nm was determined by Dynamic light scattering (DLS) and corroborated by electron transmission microscopy. X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD) confirmed the crystalline structure of the CIS NPs produced. Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDX) analyses revealed the presence of Cu, In, and S in a 0.6: 1.4: 2 ratio, which has been reported for other CIS NPs in literature. No cytotoxicity of CIS NPs was observed in human OKT6/TERT2 cells and bacteria. Besides, the potential application of biomimetic CIS NPs as photosensitizers in quantum dots sensitized solar cells (QDSSCs) was confirmed. The biocompatibility, spectroscopic properties, and energy harvesting performance in solar cells of the CIS NPs produced by our biomimetic method make them suitable for their use in different biotechnological applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103176
JournalArabian Journal of Chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Biomimetic synthesis
  • CIS
  • Glutathione
  • Photosensitizer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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