First Advisor

Dean Atkinson

Date of Publication

Winter 3-4-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chemistry






Nanoparticles -- Synthesis, Biomedical materials -- Synthesis, Phospholipids -- Synthesis



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 85 pages) : illustrations (some color)


The work presented in this dissertation is a composite of experiments in the growth of gold nanoparticles with specific optical properties of interest. The goal is to synthesize these gold nanoparticles using soybean extract for not only shape control, but for propensity as a biocompatible delivery system. The optical properties of these nanoparticles has found great application in coloring glass during the Roman empire and, over the centuries, has grown into its own research field in applications of nanoparticulate materials. Many of the current functions include use in biological systems as biosensors and therapeutic applications, thus making biocompatibility a necessity. Current use of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide leads to rod-shaped gold nanoparticles, however, the stability of these gold nanoparticles does not endure for extended periods of time in aqueous media. In my research, two important components were found to be necessary for stable, anisotropic growth of gold nanoparticles. In the first experiments, it was found that bromide played a key role in shape control. Bromide exchange on the gold atoms led to specific packing of the growing crystals, allowing for two-dimensional growth of gold nanoparticles. It was also discerned that soybean lecithin contained ligands that blocked specific gold facets leading to prismatic gold nanoparticle growth. These gold nanoprisms give a near infrared plasmon absorption similar to that of rod-shaped gold nanoparticles. These gold nanoprisms are discovered to be extremely stable in aqueous media and remain soluble for extended periods of time, far longer than that of gold nanoparticles grown using cetyltrimethylammonium bromide. Since soy lecithin has a plethora of compounds present, it became necessary to discover which compound was responsible for the shape control of the gold nanoprisms in order to optimize the synthesis and allow for a maximum yield of the gold nanoprisms. Many of these components were identified by high performance liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. However, re-spike of these components into growth solutions did not enhance the growth of gold nanoprisms. Upon separating the shapes of the gold nanoparticles using gel electrophoresis, addition of KCN to the separated gold nanoparticles allowed us to extract the culpable ligands for shape control. Analysis of these ligands by mass spectrometry elucidated the identity of PA and upon re-spike of the PA into a growth solution of PC95, the growth of a near-infrared plasmon absorption was seen. The stability of these gold nanoparticles was tested with and without the addition of decane thiol and it was concluded that addition of the thiol allowed for improved stability of the gold nanoparticles towards cyanide. It was determined that at a concentration of 2 μM decanethiol, spherical gold nanoparticles remained stable to cyanide at the expense of the prismatic gold nanoparticles. However, at 5 μM decanethiol, both spherical and prismatic gold nanoparticles retained stability to cyanide in aqueous conditions.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier