Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Maryanne Collinson


FABRICATION OF NANOPOROUS GOLD AND BIOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS By Badharinadh Uppalapati A Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at Virginia Commonwealth University. Virginia Commonwealth University, 2014 Major Director: Maryanne M. Collinson, Professor, Department of Chemistry Fabrication of nanoporous gold electrodes by dealloying Au:Ag alloys has attracted much attention in sensing applications. In the first part of this work, the electrochemical response of the redox active molecule, potassium ferricyanide, in a solution of bovine serum albumin in buffer, serum or blood was studied using nanoporous gold and comparisons made to planar gold. Nanoporous gold electrodes with different surface areas and porosity were prepared by dealloying Au:Ag alloy in nitric acid for different dealloying times, specifically, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 20 minutes. Characterization was done using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and cyclic voltammetry (CV). Using cyclic voltammetry, planar gold electrodes exposed to bovine serum albumin in buffer showed a decrease in Faradaic peak current and an increase in peak splitting for potassium ferricyanide. The time required for the peak Faradaic current to drop to one-half of its original value was 3 minutes. At nanoporous gold electrodes, however, no significant reduction in Faradaic peak current or increase in peak splitting was observed. Nanoporous gold electrodes having the smallest pore size and largest surface area showed ideal results to biofouling. These electrodes are believed to impede the mass transport of large biomolecules while allowing small redox molecules to exchange electrons effectively with the electrode. In the second part of this work, the open circuit potential (OCP) of biologic solutions (e.g., blood) was measured using nanoporous gold electrodes. Historically, the measurement of blood redox potential has been hindered due to significant fouling and surface passivation of the metal electrodes. As nanoporous gold electrodes retained electrochemical activity of redox probes like potassium ferricyanide in human serum and rabbit blood, they were used to measure the OCP of blood and plasma from various animals like pig, rabbit, rat, monkey and humans. Comparisons were made to planar gold electrodes. The OCP values at both the planar gold and nanoporous gold electrodes were different from each other and there was variability due to different constituents present in blood and plasma. The OCP of rabbit blood and crashed rabbit blood was measured and the values were found to be different from each other indicating that ORP helps in measuring the animal condition. Ascorbic acid was added to rabbit and sheep blood and OCP measured at the nanoporous electrodes. Addition of reducing agent to blood at different intervals and different concentrations showed a change in potential with concentration.


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