Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Major

Physics

Date of Defense

11-16-2016

Graduate Advisor

Keith J Stine, PhD

Committee

Philip Fraundorf

Eric Majzoub

Abstract

Nanoporous gold (np-Au) is a sponge-like structure of gold, which can be created by removing the less noble element from the precursor alloy, most typically silver or copper, using different chemical or electrochemical methods. It consists of interconnected ligaments and gaps between the ligaments, whose width can range from a few nanometers to a few hundreds of nanometers, creating a high surface area-to-volume ratio. Due to its many important properties (e.g., conductivity, high surface area-to-volume ratio, plasmonic response, biocompatibility, chemically inertness, and physically robustness), np-Au is suitable for different types of applications, including as a transducer for biosensors, in catalysis, for biomolecule separation, as a substrate for enzyme immobilization, and in drug delivery. The widths of the ligaments and gaps of np-Au can be easily tuned by varying conditions during the pre- or post-production process, for example, time kept in an acid bath and post-annealing (e.g. thermal, chemical, and electrochemical), depending on the requirement of the study. Thermal annealing is a commonly used process for tuning the ligaments and pore size of np-Au. However, the effects of thermal annealing on modification of ligaments and gaps sizes are not completely understood and more research needs to be done. Herein, we have explored the effect of annealing time and thickness of the np-Au sample on modification of ligaments and gaps. Furthermore, we used the electroless plating method to cover the pores or gaps partially on the surface without modifying the interior of np-Au. As-prepared np-Au was then studied as a platform for molecular loading and releasing kinetics for the possible use in drug delivery. We have found that simply applying the electroless deposition for 2 to 5 min can drastically decrease the rate of release of the molecules, and flow cell-based loading is the preferred way to load the molecules inside np-Au compared to the static method. The structure of the np-Au monoliths before and after the modification was characterized using Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), whereas the molecular loading and releasing studies were performed using UV-Vis spectrophotometer.

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