Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Wiley, John B.

Second Advisor

O'Connor, Charles

Third Advisor

Tarr, Matthew

Fourth Advisor

Sweany, Ray

Fifth Advisor

Nolan, Steven


The void spaces in colloidal crystals (opals, three-dimensional (3D) close-packed arrays of silica nanospheres) and their replicas are used as templates in the fabrication of new nanostructured materials. 3D ordered nanomeshes and nanosphere arrays are readily obtained by chemical and/or electrochemical methods. Using silica opal templates, metals or polymers are infiltrated into the interstices between the silica nanospheres. Subsequent dissolution of the opals with HF solution produces open 3D mesh structures. Metal (such as Ni, Co, Fe, Pd, Au, Ag, and Cu) and conductive polymer (such as polyaniline) meshes are obtained by electrochemical deposition approach, while the nonconductive polymer (such as poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)) meshes are synthesized by chemical polymerization method. Some new types of meshes are fabricated by the conversion of metal meshes and polymer meshes. NiO meshes are formed by oxidizing Ni meshes in the air. The NiO meshes exhibit higher volume occupation fraction than Ni meshes and the nanocrystalline sizes of NiO particles can be adjusted by the oxidation temperature. Due to the mechanical flexibility of polymer meshes, the compression of PMMA meshes produces deformed PMMA meshes which contain oblate pores. These meshes can be again served as templates to prepare new types of colloidal crystals (nanosphere arrays) and specific nanocomposites. By the use of poorly conductive NiO mesh or PMMA mesh arrays as templates, 3D periodic metal nanosphere arrays, such as those of Ni, Co, Au and Pd, are readily fabricated by the electrodeposition method. Metal/NiO or Metal/PMMA composites can also be obtained if the templates are left intact. The magnetic behavior of metal (such as Ni and Co) meshes and sphere arrays has been investigated. These nanoscale arrays show significantly enhanced coercivities compared with bulk metals, due to the size effect of the nanometer dimensions of the components in meshes and sphere arrays. Angle-dependent magnetic properties of Ni and Co sphere array membranes exhibit out-of-plane anisotropy.


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