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A study on possible interactions between biomolecules and nanoparticles



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Along with the rapid growth of the nanotechnology, nanoparticles (NPs) have found many applications in commercial products. However, there are only a few studies on the toxicity and the environmental effects of NPs in biological systems. In the study described in this thesis, I have used water-soluble Au NPs that were synthesized using the Brust method and then modified by small molecules. I explored the interactions of these modified Au NPs with self-assembled monolayer films on gold surfaces.Three types of self-assembled monolayer (SAM) modified gold surfaces were used in this study. The surfaces had SAMs that could be positively or negatively charged or carry no charge, or be able to engage in hydrogen bonding. Cyclic voltammetry (CV) was used to characterize SAMs of disulfide-glycine conjugate, disulfide-aspartic conjugate, and 11-mercaptoundecanoic acid (MUA) on gold surface electrodes. The possible interactions of Au NPs with the disulfide-aminoacid conjugates and alkanethiol modified surfaces were evaluated by cyclic voltammetry and by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). An apparent decline in current density observed in CV along with an electron transfer resistance increase in EIS measurements upon exposure of the films to the MUA-modified anionic Au NPs clearly indicate interactions of the NPs with the films. Likewise, upon exposure of the films to cationic NPs, electron transfer resistance decreases dramatically in EIS experiments. In addition, the current increase in CV measurements provided further evidences for the interactions. The interactions between modified Au NPs and the SAMs were investigated in more detail by infrared spectroscopy and by employing quartz crystal microbalance. These studies clearly showed that upon exposure of these SAM films to the water-soluble Au NPs, significant changes occur. As would be expected for the adsorption of the Au NPs onto the SAMs, the weight of the film increased due to the addition of the NPs on the surface. Moreover, there are significant increases in the carbonyl stretching vibration at 1735 cm-1 along with the appearance of the amide hydrogen stretching band, between 3160-3380 cm-1, which indicate the adsorption of Gly-CSA modified Au NPs onto the MUA film.



monolayers, impedance, electrochemistry, interactions, nanoparticles, biomolecules



Master of Science (M.Sc.)






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