Hui MaFollow

Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Weilie Zhou

Second Advisor

Charles J. O'Connor

Third Advisor

John B. Wiley

Fourth Advisor

Yang Cai


The idea of utilizing nanomaterials in bio-related applications has been extensively practiced during the recent decades. Magnetic nanoparticles (MPs), especially superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles have been demonstrated as promising candidates for biomedicine. A protective coating process with biocompatible materials is commonly performed on MPs to further enhance their colloidal and chemical stability in the physiological environment. Mesoporous hollow silica is another class of important nanomaterials that are extensively studied in drug delivery area for their ability to carry significant amount of guest molecules and release in a controlled manner.

In this study, different synthetic approaches that are able to produce hybrid nanomaterials, constituting both mesoporous hollow silica and magnetite nanoparticles, are described. In a two-step approach, pre-synthesized magnetite nanoparticles are either covalently conjugated to the surface of polystyrene beads and coated with silica or embedded/enclosed in the porous shell during a nanosized CaCO3 templated condensation of silica precursors, followed by acid dissolution to generate the hollow structure. It was demonstrated that the hollow interior is able to load large amount of hydrophobic drugs such as ibuprofen while the mesoporous shell is capable of prolonged drug. In order to simplify the fabrication procedure, a novel in-situ method is developed to coat silica surface with magnetite nanoparticles. By refluxing the iron precursor with mesoporous hollow silica nanospheres in polyamine/polyalcohol mixed media, one is able to directly form a high density layer of magnetite nanoparticles on silica surface during the synthesis, leaving reactive amine groups for further surface functionalization such as fluorescence conjugation. This approach provides a convenient synthesis for silica nanostructures with promising potential for drug delivery and multimodal imaging.

In addition to nanoparticles, nanowires also benefit the research and development of instruments in clinical diagnosis. Semiconductive nanowires have demonstrated their advantage in the fabrication of lab-on-a-chip devices to detect many charge carrying molecules such as antibody and DNA. In our study, In2O3 and silicon nanowire based field effect transistors were fabricated through bottom-up and top-down approaches, respectively, for ultrasensitive bio- detection of toxins such as ricin. The specific binding and non-specific interaction of nanowires with antibodies were also investigated.


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