Date of Award

Spring 2015

Thesis Type

Rollins Access Only

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Ellane Park


Gold nanoparticles have been shown to significantly improve the efficacy of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), a method of cancer treatment, by increasing the efficiency of the photosensitizer. Due to the varying nature of tumors, gold nanoparticles must be tailored with a wide range of functionalities in order to achieve selectivity in PDT. In this work, we propose a simple, cheap, and universal method for the surface-functionalization of gold nanoparticles via photografting. By creating gold nanoparticles with a photoactive exterior, the photografting method can be employed to functionalize gold nanoparticles with a wide range of biological receptors, thereby achieving the selectivity necessary for PDT. The synthesis of photoactive gold nanoparticles was proposed through Method 1, while a proof-of-concept study on the photografting method was achieved through Method 2. For Method 1, UV-Vis spectra indicate ease and reproducibility of the gold nanoparticle synthesis, while the NMR spectra present challenges in the synthesis of the photoactive ligand. The preliminary results of Method 2 suggest a strong potential for the synthesis of photoactive gold nanoparticle composites. UV-Vis and IR spectra of the Method 2 products indicate that the photografting method warrants additional trials for optimization. While more work is necessary to determine the reproducibility of our results, this thesis ultimately identified key areas of focus for future progress in the development of photoactive gold nanoparticles.

Rights Holder

Mutya Cruz