Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Ekkehard Sinn

Second Advisor

Dr. Dongil Lee

Third Advisor

Dr. Yirong Mo

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Brian Tripp


The current study entails the construction of a novel nano-composite catalyst based on ZnO and Au nanoparticles and demonstrates its distinctive photocatalytic characteristics. Monodisperse gold nanoparticles (GNPs) passivated with monolayers of tiopronin or glutathione were synthesized via facile methods, and they were assembled on ZnO nanoparticles to form the nanocatalyst.

Steady state and time resolved photoluminescent studies on the nanocomposite revealed interesting charge transfer characteristics within the nanocomposite. Enhanced photooxidation of rhodamine 6G was observed for the nano-composite over bare ZnO, and modulation of photoactivity with the extent of GNP loading was illustrated. Photoreduction of thionine over the nanocomposite was found to have similar characteristics.

Significance of band edge energies of the semiconductor and the ability of GNPs to modulate them, consequently affecting the photocatalytic properties of nano-composite is discussed. Calcination, applied as a post-synthesis treatment method was found to be detrimental for the photocatalytic activity of nanocomposites. Preliminary experiments suggested the potential of these nanocomposites to be used as effective photocatalysts in treating environmentally significant pollutants such as pesticides.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Chemistry Commons