Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Physics and Applied Physics

First Advisor

Joseph Reiner


Metallic quantum clusters are stable structures that can exhibit many useful magnetic, chemical, and optical properties. Developing clusters for specific applications requires accurate methods for characterizing their physical and chemical properties. Most cluster characterization methods are ensemble-based measurements that can only measure the average values of the cluster properties. Single cluster measurements improve upon this by yielding information about the distribution of cluster parameters. This investigation describes the initial results on a new approach to detecting and characterizing individual gold nanoclusters (Au25(SG)18) in an aqueous solution with nanopore-based resistive pulse sensing. We also present a new application where the clusters are shown to increase the mean residence time of polyethylene glycol (PEG) molecules within an alpha hemolysin (αHL) nanopore. The effect appears over a range of PEG sizes and ionic strengths. This increases the resolution of the peaks in the single molecule mass spectrometry (SMMS) current blockade distribution and suggests a means for reducing the ionic strength of the nanopore solute in the SMMS protocol.


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