Potential projects/topics: Nanoparticle synthesis remains a fundamentally poorly understood process, with most reactions being discovered by tedious trial-and-error experimentation. The objective of this project is to leverage a class of metal nanocluster molecules, which are atomically-well-defined, as precursors in common syntheses as a means to understand the chemical mechanisms governing nanoparticle growth. This will involve the rational synthesis of gold clusters with a precise core (e.g., Au32) and ligand structure (e.g., 12 quaternary ammonium halides), that will be used to “seed” the growth of larger gold nanoparticles of a variety of shapes. Design of the cluster and it’s ligands will allow for specific hypotheses to be tested regarding the kinetics and thermodynamics of how nanoparticles form. Techniques involved will include transmission electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, NMR, and absorption/fluorescence spectroscopy.
Potential skills gained: Wet chemistry lab, mass spectrometry, optical spectroscopy, science communication
Required qualifications: None
Direct mentor: Graduate Student
Student Project Titles List
Mapping Selective Binding of Surface Ligands on Anisotropic Gold Prisms