Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Chemistry (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Roger M. Leblanc

Second Committee Member

Francisco Raymo

Third Committee Member

Burjor Captain

Fourth Committee Member

Kerim Gattás Asfura


Understanding the morphologies of molecules and particles has played a key role in understanding key concepts such as mechanisms of formation, interaction and application. In the current work, atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques are used to emphasize the importance of topography in the field of nanomaterials and biochemistry. The intriguing relationship between graphene oxide and the copolymer Pluronic F-127 is investigated for its potential use in biological applications. Additionally, the importance of characterizing and calculating size distributions in semiconducting quantum dots as it relates to conduction efficiency is also described. AFM is similarly used in determining binding characteristics of two peptides, Pd4 (wild type), and A6 (mutant), onto a palladium surface as a means to study potential alternatives in palladium based “green” catalysis. Finally, the study of human insulin amyloid fibril formation is reported as a means to elucidate potential mechanisms in the growth of pathological, extracellular and insoluble protein deposits that have been linked to many disease states. AFM has proven to be an invaluable technique to study morphology in the realm of nanomaterials and biomolecules.


nanomaterials; biomiolecules; atomic force microscopy; palladium catalysis; amyloid fibrils; graphene oxide