Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Nastassja Lewinski


Separation methods involving a mixture of metals typically include upfront processing that leads to one final product. To lower the waste and ultimately environmental burden, the potential to synthesize multiple functional products from a mixed metal precursor solution is explored. The initial precursor solutions contained varying ratios of gold and copper, gold and nickel, and finally a ternary solution of gold, copper, and nickel. The amount of gold was kept constant, while the amount of copper and/or nickel was sequentially increased. Two separate synthesis processes were tested, the traditional Turkevich method involving trisodium citrate and another chemical reduction method involving sodium borohydride. The particle size and chemical composition of the synthesized particles were characterized using TEM, DLS and ICP-OES. It was determined that gold nanoparticles still formed at a ratio of 1 to 2 gold to copper while using trisodium citrate or sodium borohydride as the reducing agent. The same limiting ratio was observed for the gold to nickel reactions in the presence of either trisodium citrate or sodium borohydride. The ternary mixture limit for gold nanoparticle formation was a molar ratio of 1 to 1 to 1 gold to copper to nickel. The repeatability and stability results for the optimized binary reaction conditions indicate that using sodium borohydride as the reducing agent consistently produces more stable particle suspensions. Quantifying the environmental impact using green chemistry metrics indicate the Turkevich reactions for the optimized reactions have the lower environmental factors.


©Kathryn Dill

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