Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Sean P. McBride, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Norton

Third Advisor

Dr. Thomas Wilson


Hydrophobic thiol coated gold nanoparticles have recently been investigated for their ability to self-assemble into robust, ultra-thin, porous membranes at a liquid-vapor interface. Due to the well-ordered, hexagonal close-packed nanoparticle arrays formed during the self-assembly process, these 2-dimensional sheets have very well-defined pore structures and have been shown to span gaps of several microns under ideal conditions. While these self-assembled nanoparticle monolayers have very promising applications in the field of size-selective filtration due to their well-defined pore structure, they need to be supported by a rigid substrate with a large amount of open area. Here, tightly packed arrays of silica nanospheres are being explored as a possible high-flux supporting substrate for the self-assembled gold nanoparticle membrane due to their low reactivity and highly silanol-functionalizable surface. This work focuses on the synthesis methods of the silica nanospheres and development of the high-flux supporting substrate. Scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy were used as the primary means of characterization for this project and the experiments reported here aim to lay the groundwork for a high-flux, size-selective filtration membrane design using gold nanoparticle self-assembled monolayers supported by a tightly-packed silica nanoparticle substrate.




Biotechnology -- Materials.