Synthesis and Characterization of Nanoparticle Assemblies for Electronic Applications

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Title: Synthesis and Characterization of Nanoparticle Assemblies for Electronic Applications
Author: Ayres, Jennifer Ann
Advisors: Dr. Stefan Franzen, Committee Member
Dr. Edmond Bowden, Committee Member
Dr. Gregory Parsons, Committee Member
Dr. Christopher B. Gorman, Committee Chair
Abstract: While significant effort has been made to synthesize molecular wires for electronic applications, the ability to insert these molecules between two metallic contacts with directional control has yet to be demonstrated. Control over molecular orientation is critical to the development of molecular devices such as diodes, capacitors and transistors. In this study, directional control is achieved using orthogonal self-assembly to synthesize electronic junctions between nanoparticles of different compositions. Phenyl ethynylene oligomers were synthesized with different end groups. One molecule was functionalized with a thiol which exhibits preferential binding to gold and an isocyanide which exhibits preferential binding to platinum. The other was functionalized with a thiol for binding to gold and a carboxylic acid which exhibits preferential binding to metal oxides. One of the major challenges of this work was the synthesis of nanoparticle building blocks that were suitable for the formation of these heterodimeric structures. Metal and metal oxide particles were synthesized with capping ligands that provided stability yet did not sterically hinder heterodimer formation. Once appropriate nanoparticles had been identified, preliminary studies indicated heterodimer formation. However, characterizing these structures presented additional challenges. Several characterization techniques, including transmission electron microscopy (TEM), size-exclusion chromatography (SEC), several types of electrophoresis and small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS), were evaluated for their ability to characterize these structures with statistical accuracy. While all of these techniques did indicate the presence of dimers or larger aggregates in solution, accurate statistical information was not obtained using any single method.
Date: 2009-07-27
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Chemistry

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