Mercury is a known environmental pollutant that can damage the brain, heart, kidney and lungs upon exposure. Emissions from fossil fuel plants can release mercury into the air, where it can settle into the water supply and be exposed to human and aquatic life. The use of gold nanorods functionalized on solid substrates as a mercury sensor in tap water samples is investigated herein. The functionalization of the substrates involves the physical immobilization of the nanorods onto the solid surface through the use of (3-mercaptopropyl)trimethoxysilane (MPTMS). The immobilization of the nanorods drastically increases their stability, allowing for use in complicated sample matrices. When gold nanorods are exposed to mercury in aqueous samples, their amalgamation to mercury metal causes a reduction of the effective aspect ratio of the nanoparticles and a blue shift of their maximum longitudinal surface plasmon resonance (SPR) absorption wavelength. Quantitative analysis is made possible due to the linear correlation that exists between the concentration of mercury and the wavelength shift of the maximum SPR absorption wavelength. In order to achieve the quantitative amalgamation of Hg (II) with the nanorods, it is necessary to reduce the mercury ions to mercury metal, which is accomplished herein via chemical or electrochemical processes. Chemical reduction of mercury was been carried out with a strong reducing agent, specifically sodium borohydride. Electrochemical reduction has been accomplished with gold nanorods immobilized on Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) substrates. Mercury determination in tap water using the immobilized gold nanorods was successfully conducted, with further experiments on improving selectivity with potential control, and improving sensitivity through flow injection analysis.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Trieu, Khang, "Detection of Mercury Through Surface Plasmon Resonance of Immobilized Gold Nanorods" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6390.