Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Katharine Moore Tibbetts


Colloidal, metallic nanoparticles have myriad applications, but they are most ideal when they are monodisperse, and demonstrate maximum catalytic utility when they are small (< 5 nm) and uncoated; because their surface area is accessible and maximized. Laser- assisted metal nanoparticle synthesis is a ‘green’ method that has become a topic of active research because it is able to produce uncoated or ‘naked’ products. The nanoparticles synthesized in this work were formed through the reduction of metal salts in aqueous solutions; but the reducing agent is an electron-dense microplasma generated by the laser pulse interacting with the media. Because no chemical reducing agents or stabilizers are needed, the products have no surfactants.

The underlying reaction mechanisms that drive this type of synthesis are generally understood, however, there is insufficient detail that would allow control over the formation of ultimate product morphologies and size distributions. The metals examined in this thesis are: gold, whose formation follows an autocatalytic rate law; and silver, whose formation follows a first-order rate law. Through my research, I was able to explore the effects that physical parameters (such as laser pulse settings) and chemical parameters (such as radical scavenger addition) have on laser-assisted gold or silver nanoparticle synthesis. My research, outlined in this thesis, is therefore focused on elucidating such details and distilling them into methods of control in order to better predict and tune nanoparticle products.


© Victoria Kathryn Meader

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Date of Submission