First Advisor

Jun Jiao

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Physics and University Honors




Nanoparticles -- Synthesis, Sonication, Groundwater -- Purification -- Trichloroethylene removal, Groundwater -- Pollution




The contamination of groundwater by trichloroethylene (TCE) and other related contaminants is a compromise to the safety of drinking water all over the world. There have been many efforts to solve this issue, but all possible solutions have come at the cost of excessive waste or further contamination of the environment. The Palladium (Pd), Gold (Au) coated, Carbon supported catalyst makes use of current nanotechnology to provide an efficient method of degrading TCE to non-toxic levels of ethene and ethane. This thesis discusses the optimization of the novel solvothermal, green synthesis process of Pd/Au carbon supported nanoparticles (NPs) devolved by the Jiao Group at Portland State University. The pre-sonication of Au precursor, washing of the carbon supported NP samples, and reaction time of the samples were explored. Evidence suggested that sonicating the Au precursor did not, alone, synthesize nanoparticles, washing the catalysts did provide an effective method of ensuring nanoparticles adhered to their support, and that a reaction time of down to an hour may be just as effective as a reaction time of 24 hours. The preliminary results gathered here are promising results to suggest the claims mentioned above but will require further investigation for a definitive confirmation.


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