Synthesis and characterization of carboxylic acid functionalized silicon nanoparticles
Silicon nanoparticles are of great interest in a great number of fields. Silicon nanoparticles show great promise particularly in the field of bioimaging. Carboxylic acid functionalized silicon nanoparticles have the ability to covalently bond to biomolecules through the conjugation of the carboxylic acid to an amine functionalized biomolecule. This thesis explores the synthesis of silicon nanoparticles functionalized by both carboxylic acids and alkenes and their carboxylic acid functionality. Also discussed is the characterization of the silicon nanoparticles by the use of x-ray spectroscopy. Finally, the nature of the Si-H bond that is observed on the surface of the silicon nanoparticles will be investigated using photoassisted exciton mediated hydrosilation reactions. The silicon nanoparticles are synthesized from both carboxylic acids and alkenes. However, the lack of solubility of diacids is a significant barrier to carboxylic acid functionalization by a mixture of monoacids and diacids. A synthesis route to overcome this obstacle is to synthesize silicon nanoparticles with terminal vinyl group. This terminal vinyl group is distal to the surface of the silicon nanoparticle. The conversion of the vinyl group to a carboxylic acid is accomplished by oxidative cleavage using ozonolysis. The carboxylic acid functionalized silicon nanoparticles were then successfully conjugated to amine functionalized DNA strand through an n-hydroxy succinimide ester activation step, which promotes the formation of the amide bond. Conjugation was characterized by TEM and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). The PAGE results show that the silicon nanoparticle conjugates move slower through the polyacrylamide gel, resulting in a significant separation from the nonconjugated DNA. The silicon nanoparticles were then characterized by the use of x-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy (Xanes) and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to investigate the bonding and chemical environment of the silicon surface of the nanoparticles. Modeling of the silicon nanoparticles and theoretical XANES spectra were also accomplished through the use of the FEFF9 software package. Results validate the infrared spectra results of more oxygen bound to the surfaces of larger silicon nanoparticles and less oxygen bound to smaller silicon nanoparticles. The photoluminescence was shown to greatly increase in yield after photoassisted exciton mediated hydrosilation. This has led to an increase of the luminescence yield of over an order of magnitude.