Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

First Advisor

Prof. Maryanne M. Collinson


Nanostructured porous materials generally, and nanoporous noble metals specifically, have received considerable attention due to their superior chemical and physical properties over nanoparticles and bulk counterparts. This dissertation work aims to develop well-established strategies for the preparation of multifunctional nanostructured porous materials based on the combination of inorganic-chemistry, organic-chemistry and electrochemistry. The preparation strategies involved one or more of the following processes: sol-gel synthesis, co-electrodeposition, metal ions reduction, electropolymerization and dealloying or chemical etching. The study did not stop at the preparation limits but extended to investigate the reaction mechanism behind the formation of these multifunctional nanoporous structures in order to determine the different factors controlling the nanoporous structures formation. First, gold-silica nanocomposites were prepared and used as a building blocks for the fabrication of high surface area gold coral electrodes. Well-controlled surface area enhancement, film thickness and morphology were achieved. An enhancement in the electrode’s surface area up to 57 times relative to the geometric area was achieved. A critical sol-gel monomer concentration was also noted at which the deposited silica around the gold coral was able to stabilize the gold corals and below which the deposited coral structures are not stable. Second, free-standing and transferable strata-like 3D porous polypyrrole nanostructures were obtained from chemical etching of the electrodeposited polypyrrole-silica nanocomposite films. A new reaction mechanism was developed and a new structural directing factor has been discovered for the first time. Finally, silver-rich platinum alloys were prepared and dealloyed in acidic medium to produce 3D bicontinuous nanoporous platinum nanorods and films with a nanoporous gold-like structure. The 3D-BC-NP-Pt displayed high surface area, typical electrochemical sensing properties in an aqueous medium, and exceptional electrochemical sensing capability in a complex biofouling environment containing fibrinogen. The 3D-BC-NP-Pt displayed high catalytic activity toward the methanol electro-oxidation that is 30 times higher that of planar platinum and high volumetric capacitance of 400 F/cm3. These findings will pave the way toward the development of high performance and reliable electrodes for catalysis, sensing, high power outputs fuel cells, battery-like supercapacitors and miniaturized device applications.


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