Controlled synthesis of gold nanorods with varying aspect ratios and their biological applications

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Chemical Engineering


Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering


Advisor: Donald A. Comfort


Gold nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes are actively being researched in a variety of different fields ranging from electronics, solar cells, sensors, cancer therapy, and medical imaging. The unique plasmonic properties of these particles are the basis for most of these applications. Gold nanorods (GNRs) have unique plasmonic properties resulting in optical properties in the NIR-region ranging from 650-1200 nm. Within this region, biological tissue has minimal effect on light. The unique range for optical properties yields applications for GNRs in fields such as biology, sensors, and medicine. The optical properties are tuned by adjusting the aspect ratio (length/diameter) of the gold nanorods. A dual surfactant (CTAB and BDAC) wet chemistry synthesis process was researched to tune the aspect ratio between 2.5 and 6.5. Optimization of the procedure was achieved by controlling process variables, which resulted in an increase in reproducibility. GNRs with five different aspect ratios ranging from 2.5 to 6 were synthesized and functionalized with tannic acid using the over coating mechanism to improve cellular uptake. The procedure used to synthesize, purify, and functionalize the gold nanorods with tannic acid was reproducible and shown to produce stable nanoparticles. The particles were shown to be biocompatible for a wide range of concentrations and readily taken up by lung epithelial cells. The amount of uptake was significantly higher than pegylated GNRs. The reproducibility of the synthesis and functionalization process to produce these biocompatible particles allows them to be implemented in certain types of biological applications.


Gold Metallurgy, Nanoparticles Health aspects Research, Metals in medicine Research

Rights Statement

Copyright 2012, author