Characterization of Intermolecular Interactions in Nanostructured Materials
Hudson, Amanda Gayle
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Advanced analytical techniques were utilized to investigate the intermolecular forces in several nanostructured materials. Techniques including, but not limited to, isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), variable temperature Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) thermal curves were used to study the fundamental interactions present in various nanomaterials, and to further probe the influence of these interactions on the overall behavior of the material. The areas of focus included self-assembly of surfactant micelles, polycation complexation of DNA, and temperature-dependent hydrogen bonding in polymeric systems. ITC was successfully used to determine the low critical micelle concentration (CMC) for a novel gemini surfactant with limited water solubility. CMCs were measured at decreasing methanol molar fractions (xMeOH) in water and the resulting linear relationship between CMC and methanol concentration was used to mathematically extrapolate to a predicted CMC at xMeOH = 0. Using this technique, the CMC value for the novel gemini surfactant was predicted to be 0.037 ± 0.004 mM. This extrapolation technique was also validated with surfactant standards. ITC was also used to investigate the binding thermodynamics of polyplex formation with polycations and DNA. The imidazolium-containing and trehalose-based polycations were both found to have endothermic, entropically driven binding with DNA, while the adenine-containing polycation exhibited exothermic DNA binding. In addition, ITC was also used to confirm the stoichiometric binding ratio of linear polyethylenimine and DNA polyplexes as determined by a novel NMR method. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) and zeta potential measurements were also performed to determine the size and surface charge of polyplexes. Circular dichroism (CD) and FTIR spectroscopies provided information regarding the structural changes that may occur in the DNA upon complexation with polymers. UV-Vis thermal curves indicated that polyplexes exhibit a greater thermal stability than DNA by itself. Variable temperature FTIR spectroscopy was used to quantitatively compare the hydrogen bonding behavior of multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT)-polyurethane composites. Spectra were collected from 35 to 185 deg C for samples containing various weight percent loadings of MWCNTs with different hydrogen bonding surface functionalities. Peak fitting analysis was performed in the carbonyl-stretching region for each sample, and the hydrogen-bonding index (Rindex) was reported. Rindex values were used to quantitatively compare all of the composite samples in regards to temperature effects, weight percent loadings of MWCNTs, and the different functionalizations. In general, higher weight percent loadings of the MWCNTs resulted in greater Rindex values and increased hydrogen bond dissociation temperatures. In addition, at 5 and 10 wt% loadings the initial Rindex values displayed a trend that tracked well with the increasing hydrogen bonding capacity of the various surface functionalities.
- Doctoral Dissertations