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

Angel Kaifer

Third Committee Member

Orlando Acevedo

Fourth Committee Member

Kevin M. Collins


Biomolecules and their conjugates have become widely used templates in the synthesis of metal and metal oxide materials with exact morphologies and enhanced functionalities. Among the many biomolecule options, peptides are short conjugated amino acid chains with inherent material recognition properties that are easy to modify and study. While the current use of biomolecules as templates for material synthesis in the presence of exogenous reducing agents has led to great advancements in biomediated materials and expanding the understanding of the biotic/abiotic interface, additional steps can still be taken so that these biomolecules can not only act as a material morphology templates, but also control the material synthesis from complexation through reduction, nucleation, and growth. The work presented here is twofold. First, how does the primary sequence of the peptide in question dictate the initial complexation interactions between a peptide and Au3+ in the reaction solution and how do common water soluble salts afflict the rate of the Trp induced reduction process. Second, by investigating the control independent amino acids have on material stability and morphology, can rationally designed material selective peptides evolve to impart exact morphology and functionality on prevalent metal oxide materials CuS and Cu2O. Taken together, this collection of work looks to further the understanding of the initial solution based interactions prior to material synthesis in the design of both noble metal and metal oxide materials so that peptides can be rationally designed to impart specific traits associated with each residue with in a sequence. In developing the understanding of how amino acids associate with their target metal ion, more can be done to push synthetic biomineralization processes for inorganic catalysts eventually alleviating the need for exogenous reagents, harsh conditions, and expensive instrumentation.


Peptides; Amino Acids; Nanoparticles; Catalysis