High-Yield Synthesis and Applications of Anisotropic Gold Nanoparticles
Doctor of Philosophy
This work will describe research directed towards the synthesis of anisotropic gold nanoparticles as well as their functionalization and biological applications. The thesis will begin by describing a new technique for the high-yield synthesis of gold nanorods using hydroquinone as a reducing agent. This addresses important limitations of the traditional nanorod synthesis including low yield of gold ions conversion to metallic form and inability to produce rods with longitudinal surface plasmon peak above 850 nm. The use of hydroquinone was also found to improve the synthesis of gold nanowires via the nanorod-seed mediated procedure developed in our lab. The thesis will next present the synthesis of novel starfruit-shaped nanorods, mesorods, and nanowires using a modified nanorod-seed mediated procedure. The starfruit particles displayed increased activity as surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrates as compared to smooth structures. Next, a method for the functionalization of gold nanorods using a cationic thiol, 16-mercaptohexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (MTAB), will be described. By using this thiol, we were able to demonstrate the complete removal of toxic surfactant from the nanorods and were also able to precisely quantify the grafting density of thiol molecules on the nanorod surface through a combination of several analytical techniques. Finally, this thesis will show that MTAB-functionalized nanorods are nontoxic and can be taken up in extremely high numbers into cancer cells. The thesis will conclude by describing the surprising uptake of larger mesorods and nanowires functionalized with MTAB into cells in high quantities.