Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Javier Vela


Engineering nanoparticles with desired shape-dependent properties is the key to many applications in nanotechnology. Although many synthetic procedures exist to produce anisotropic gold nanoparticles, the dynamics of growth are typically unknown or hypothetical. In the case of seed-mediated growth in the presence of DNA into anisotropic nanoparticles, it is not known exactly how DNA directs growth into specific morphologies. A series of preliminary experiments were carried out to contribute to the investigation of the possible mechanism of DNA-mediated growth of gold nanoprisms into gold nanostars using liquid cell scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). Imaging in the liquid phase was achieved through the use of a liquid cell platform and liquid cell holder that allow the sample to be contained within a "chip sandwich" between two electron transparent windows. Ex situ growth experiments were performed using Au-T30 NPrisms (30-base thymine oligonucleotide-coated gold nanoprisms) that are expected to grow into gold nanostars. Growth to form these nanostars were imaged using TEM (transmission electron microscopy) and liquid cell STEM (scanning transmission electron microscopy).

An attempt to perform in situ growth experiments with the same Au-T30 nanoprisms revealed challenges in obtaining desired morphology results due to the environmental differences within the liquid cell compared to the ex situ environment. Different parameters in the experimental method were explored including fluid line set up, simultaneous and alternating reagent addition, and the effect of different liquid cell volumes to ensure adequate flow of reagents into the liquid cell.

Lastly, the binding affinities were compared for T30 and A30 DNA incubated with gold nanoparticles using zeta potential measurements, absorption spectroscopy, and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC). It was previously reported thymine bases have a lower binding affinity to gold surfaces than adenine bases. However, the results reported here contradict the previously reported data. Future prospectives on this work are outlined.


Copyright Owner

Amanda Nguy



File Format


File Size

71 pages