Date of Graduation

Spring 2019


Master of Science in Chemistry


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Chair

Adam Wanekaya


Nanoparticles have become very useful as delivery systems in biomedicine. The nanoparticles can be layered with different compounds to produce a vessel for transport of biological materials. Specifically, gold nanoparticles layered with a reducing agent, lysozyme, and polyelectrolytes can be synthesized to transport lysozyme into a cell. However, zinc oxide nanoparticles are cheaper, biocompatible nanoparticles that can be used for the same process. Here in, zinc oxide nanoparticle conjugates were synthesized, modified, and analyzed to be used as a biological material delivery system. The zinc oxide nanoparticles were synthesized using zinc chloride and sodium hydroxide. The particles were then layered using the layer-by-layer technique of adding each compound to the nanoparticle solution dropwise. Each deposition was bound by the interaction of the opposite charges of the compounds being added. The layers used were mercaptoundecanoic acid (MUA), poly(ethylenimine) (PEI), polystryrene sulfonate (PSS), and RNA or lysozyme ordered specifically to have a high affinity for binding each layer. With each deposition added to the system, the following instruments were used to characterize the particles: Dynamic Light Scattering Spectroscopy (DLS) and Scanning Electrons Microscopy (SEM) for particle sizing, Electrophoretic Mobility (ELS) for zeta potential and surface charge, and UV-Vis spectrophotometer and FTIR spectroscopy for optical properties. Furthermore, after the layering process was completed, the biological material encapsulated was tested to assure its effectiveness once transported into the cell. This was completed using an enzymatic assay for lysozyme and an ethidium bromide assay for RNA. After characterization was completed, all three nanoparticle conjugates were concluded to be successfully synthesized.


zinc oxide, protein, protein delivery, lysozyme, RNA, nanoparticles, nanomaterials, layer-by-layer

Subject Categories

Analytical Chemistry | Biochemistry | Inorganic Chemistry


© Allison Kimberly Freese

Open Access