Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • SYNTHESIS OF SILICA NANOSTRUCTURES BY USING WET-CHEMISTRY METHODS

    Author:
    Henan Zhang
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Daniel Akins
    Abstract:

    For the sol-gel synthesis of silica particles under high pH catalytic conditions (pH>12) in water/ethanol solvent, we have deduced that the competing dynamics of chemical etching and sol-gel formation can explain the types of silica particles formed and their morphologies. We have demonstrated that emulsion droplets that are generated by adding tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) to a water-ethanol solution serve as soft templates for hollow spherical silica (1~2 µm). And if the emulsion is converted by the sol-gel process, one finds that suspended solid silica spheres of diameter of ~900 nm are formed. Moreover, several other factors are found to play fundamental roles in determining the final morphologies of silica particles, such as by variation of the pH (in our case, using OH¯) to a level where condensation dominates; by changing the volume ratios of water/ethanol; and using an emulsifier (specifically, CTAB). For a sol-gel process occurring in a water/oil (w/o) system, the self-assembly of silica nuclei can be controlled by close control of synthesis conditions. We have synthesized ellipsoidal or spherical silica particles by a template-free scheme that involves controlling surface tension on silica nuclei through via use of different volume ratios of a w/o micellar system. We have utilized wet-chemical etching of ellipsoidal silica nanoparticles to form silica nanoshells of a range of elliptical morphologies, with the thicknesses of the ellipsoidal silica nanoshells controlled through via variation of synthesis conditions. A mechanism has been proposed to explain how the nanoshells are formed, and we demonstrate that the porosity of the silica ellipsoid plays a role in generating silica shells. Moreover, silica materials with the unique structures might be adjusted to meet practical application requirements.

  • Molecular Structure Engineering of Semiconducting Perylene Monoanhydride Diesters

    Author:
    Hao Zhang
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Shi Jin
    Abstract:

    The last decade has witnessed a significant progress in the field of organic electronic materials and devices. Inspired by organic electronics' promising potential and wide applications, intensive research effort has been made to discover and design organic molecules which can give good performance in organic electronic devices. In this thesis, my research effort focused on two important fields of organic electronics: polyethylene oxide (PEO)-based conducting polymers and perylene monoanhydride diester (PEA)-based discotic columnar liquid crystalline (DCLC) materials. In Chapter 1, general background of PEO-based polymer electrolytes is introduced in part I. Different strategies to improve the polymer's conductivity, including block copolymers, graft copolymers and cross-linked polymers, are summarized. In part II of Chapter 1, it is the general background of DCLC materials. Representative DCLC materials based on a broad class of -conjugated materials such as hexabenzocoronenes (HBCs), porphyrins and perylene diimides (PDIs) are briefly reviewed. In Chapter 2, a new, efficient chemical modification method of poly (epichlorohydrin-co-ethylene oxide) (PECH-PEO) was proposed and executed. The PECH-PEO copolymer was successfully modified by oligo ethylene glycol (OEG) side chains via click chemistry. The high degree of modification and minimum chain degradation were achieved. The resulted PEO-based polymer demonstrated high room temperature (RT) ionic conductivity upon forming a lithium complex, which makes it useful as a solid electrolyte in lithium batteries. In Chapter 3, a mild, one-pot synthesis strategy to prepare PEAs containing labile functional groups is presented. Currently this is the only approach towards PEAs containing labile functional groups. Furthermore, using an asymmetrically substituted PEA as the intermediate, a tetraphilic perylene monoimide diester (PEI) that contains acid-labile functionalities was synthesized in good yield for the first time. And the fluorine-containing PEI showed highly interesting structure properties. In Chapter 4, a tert-butyl-based PEA was designed as the intermediate towards unsymmetric perylene derivatives. Unlike previous reported PEA intermediate, the tert-butyl-based PEA can be easily cyclized in an appreciably milder condition. This unique property makes it an ideal candidate for the synthesis of PEIs with acid-labile functional groups. In Chapter 5, a series of PEAs with bundled-stack discotic columnar liquid crystalline (BSDCLC) phase were synthesized and characterized. Compared to conventional DCLC materials, BSDCLC materials are structurally more robust to the occurrence of defects and therefore are expected to exhibit enhanced charge carrier characteristics. More importantly, perylene-based BSDCLC phase with single stacking mode is realized for the first time. Furthermore, our experimental data show that the self-assembly of a PEA can be effectively tuned not only by changing the branching unit, but also by changing the nature of flexible chains. Compared to alkyl chains, OEG chains can induce the BSDCLC phase of PEAs with much higher atom efficiency. Apart from synthesis and molecular design, characterization is critical to my dissertation research. A full scope of instrumentation techniques including Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), polarized light microscopy (PLM), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), small-angle and wide-angle X-ray diffraction (XRD) have been employed. Additionally, molecular simulation has also been applied to predict and obtain details in molecular packing. To sum up, the achievements in this research contribute an advance in the field of developing perylene-based BSDCLC materials which can be potentially used for organic electronics; and PECH-PEO based polymer electrolytes have reasonable good dimensional stability and conductivity, which are important properties for the application in lithium battery industry.

  • Raman imaging and spectroscopy of individual single-wall carbon nanotubes

    Author:
    Li Zhang
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Zhonghua Yu
    Abstract:

    Single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNT) are unique one-dimensional materials that are promising for many potential applications in various important areas. Their vibrational properties reflect the electron and phonon confinement as well as the structures of the tubes. Resonant Raman spectroscopy has been proven to be an exceedingly powerful tool for the characterization of the vibrational and electronic properties of SWNTs. This thesis focuses on the study of Raman spectroscopy of individual single carbon nanotubes. Single tube spectroscopy allows probing the structure dependent properties of SWNTs. A beam-scanning confocal Raman microscope system capable of large-area Raman imaging is first developed for characterizing SWNTs at the single tube level. Raman images and first-order Raman spectra of nanotubes, consisting of both semicoducting and metallic nanotubes, are systemically studied at room temperature in ambient air. The diameter of the nanotubes is determined from their radial breathing mode (RBM) frequency. A broad diameter distribution is observed for nanotubes synthesized by chemical vapor deposition. The tangential G mode Raman spectra of individual metallic nanotubes are found to exhibit a broad distribution of line shapes, which is attributed to shift of the Fermi level due to O2 adsorption. The doping dependence of Raman spectra of metallic tubes is further studied by both electrostatic gating and electrochemical gating. Significant changes in the G band Raman spectra of nanotubes are observed, suggesting the effect of doping on electron-phonon interaction. The observation of a gradual evolution of G band spectrum from a semiconducting type to the broad BWF type reveals evidence of phonon interaction between two G band modes. Raman imaging and Raman spectra of isolated SWNTs and single-layer graphenen are investigated at both room temperature and low temperature. The temperature-induced Raman spectral change of individual nanotubes is observed to be tube diameter dependent, which can be ascribed to the temperature dependence of carbon-carbon bond force constant in SWNTs and the nanotube curvature effect. At last, second-order Raman modes between 1650 and 2000 cm-1 of small-diameter SWNTs are characterized under different excitation wavelength. Excitation wavelength dependent Raman spectra of the same nanotube reveals that frequencies of the overtone M band and combination iTOLA mode of a single tube are insensitive to excitation energy, which is in contrast to the dispersive behavior observed in the ensemble measurement. It is also discovered that the relative intensity of these second-order modes depends on the chirality and family type of a nanotube.

  • Preparation of Mesoporous Silica and Its Applications in Hydrogen Storage Materials

    Author:
    Yu Zhao
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Daniel Akins
    Abstract:

    The present study investigated the synthesis of mesoporous silica nanospheres (MSNs) and the application of mesoporous silica in hydrogen storage applications. MSNs with particle sizes ranging from ca. 25 to 150 nm are synthesized via sol-gel chemistry with 80 °C isothermal water bath. Initial pH values of the reactant solution were used as control parameters to tune both the particles and pores size of the products. We modified the syntheses conditions and synthesized MSNs using a microwave-assisted heating approach. The introduction of microwave-assisted heating results in better crystallized MSNs. After enhanced hydrogen release properties of pretreated AB were study, some AB/MSN nanocomposites were prepared and the hydrogen release properties of these composites were evaluated. It was found that the AB/MSN nanocomposites had faster hydrogen release kinetics. A critical loading level of ca.0.15 (weigh ratio of AB to MSNs) was found. When the loading level of the nanocomposites is below the critical level, the first two moles hydrogen would be released simultaneously from AB at temperature below 90 °C. Additional, the critical loading level still exists in the AB/mesoporous silica nanocomposite materials of different mesopore sizes, and their critical loading level is affected by the total surface area of the mesopores.

  • EMERGING ORGANIC CONTAMINANTS IN SURFACE AND GROUND WATERS OF NEW YORK

    Author:
    Sherry Zhao
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Pengfei Zhang
    Abstract:

    The first study was about monitor estrogens (estrone, 17a-estradiol, 17b-estradiol, and estriol) in three headwater streams within a concentrated animal feed operation (CAFO) site on a monthly base for a year. In general, estrogen concentrations in the streams are low (<1 ng/l), and appeared to increase in spring, likely due to the mobilization of estrogens from soils upon snow melting/precipitation. Estrogens were detected in the streams during dry periods, indicating the contribution of estrogens from groundwater. The low concentrations of estrogens in stream water were probably the result of the long residence time (~8 months) of the manure in the lagoons where the majority of the estrogens were degraded during storage. The second study was designed to distinguish between unsewered areas and septic systems application as two possible sources of nitrogen to coastal groundwater by analyzing groundwater samples for pharmaceutical residuals. Groundwater samples were taken through piezometers at shoreline sites in unsewered areas in Northport Harbor and in sewered areas adjacent to Manhasset Bay, both in western Long Island Sound. The frequent detection of the anticonvulsant compound carbamazepine in groundwater samples of Northport (unsewered), together with the fact that few pesticides associated with lawn applications were detected, suggest that wastewater input and atmospheric input are the likely sources of nitrogen in Northport groundwater. High concentrations of nitrogen were also detected in Manhasset (unsewered) groundwater. The low detection frequency of carbamazepine, however suggests that the sewer system effectively intercept nitrogen from wastewater there.

  • Development of Responsive Nano/Microgels for Materials Application

    Author:
    Ting Zhou
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Chemistry
    Advisor:
    Shuiqin Zhou
    Abstract:

    Abstract Development of Responsive Nano/Microgels for Materials Application By Ting Zhou Adviser: Professor Shuiqin Zhou Stimulus-responsive polymer microgels swell and shrink reversibly upon exposure to various environmental stimuli such as change in pH, temperature, ionic strength or magnetic fields. Therefore, they become ideal candidates for biomaterial applications. This work covers the general areas of responsive microgels and their application on controlled and targeted drug release. According to the therapy purpose, this work can be classified to two parts. The first part of this thesis (chapter 3-5) focused on the development of biocompatible microgels-based drug delivery systems as anticancer drug carrier. These microgels are constructed from thermo-responsive and/or pH-responsive biocompatible materials, such as, oligo(ethylene glycol) and chitosan. The effects of pH values and temperatures on drug release behaviors of these stimulus-responsive microgels have been discussed. In chapter 5, hybrid ZnO quantum dots (QDs) encapsulated pH and temperature dual-responsive core-shell structure microgels has been prepared, which can not only be applied as targeting drug release system, but also can act as optical sensor for imaging in therapeutic application. The latter part of this thesis (chapter 6, 7) investigated the synthesis, functionalization and characterization of glucose-responsive microgels for diabetes therapy purpose. CdS QDs immobilized glucose-sensitive microgels exhibit fluorescence quenching in the physiologically important glucose concentration range 1-25 mM, which shows promise for a continuous non-invasive in vivo glucose sensing system. In another chapter, core-shell microgels with the P(NIPAM-AAm-PBA) microgel as core and the P(MEO5MA) gel layer as shell were prepared for biocompatibility purpose. The presence of P(MEO5MA) shell could prevent the glucose-sensitive core network from swelling due the hydrogen bonding between oxygens from P(MEO5MA) side chains and glucose molecules, resulting in a shift of glucose sensitivity of core-shell microgels to higher glucose concentration in comparison with the free parent core microgels. Therefore, the set point of glucose sensitivity of microgels could be adjusted possibly and result in potential biomedical applications.