Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Chemistry (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Marc R. Knecht

Second Committee Member

Roger LeBlanc

Third Committee Member

Rajeev Prabhakar

Fourth Committee Member

Sung Jin Kim


Metal nanomaterials are used for a variety of applications ranging from biomedical to electronics. Gold nanomaterials are of particular interest due to their unique optical and electronic properties and the ability to easily functionalize the gold surface. One disadvantage to using gold nanorods in biological applications is the lack of particle stability during surface modification processes. In this regard, the surfactant concentration during gold nanorod washing was studied for multiple washing steps where a minimum CTAB concentration of 0.5 mM was required to maintain stability throughout 10 wash cycles. While there are numerous routes to synthesize metal nanomaterials, biomolecules such as peptides offer a unique method to strictly control the size, shape, and morphology of the material. The self-assembling R5 peptide is of particular interest due its ability to form a 3D template in aqueous solution. The R5 peptide is used to stabilize bimetallic PdAu and PdPt nanoparticles and used for the hydrogenation of olefinic alcohols where maximum catalytic enhancement was observed at 33 % Au/Pt. While peptides are versatile and are able to stabilize a wide array of metal materials, a new class of materials called peptoids is emerging. Peptoids bridge the gap between biopolymers and engineered polymers and offer enhanced stability then peptides. The effects of peptoid structure on the morphology and reactivity of Pd nanomaterials was studied where fiber-templated materials showed enhanced catalytic reactivity compared to the sheet-templated materials. Bio-templated materials are important because they offer unique routes to synthesize highly stable and reactive materials that can be applied to a wide array of applications.


Nanoparticles; peptides; bimetallic catalyst; self-assembled templates; hydrogenation; gold nanorods