Term of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Name

Master of Science, Applied Physical Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Chair

Beverly Briggs Penland

Committee Member 1

Mitch Weiland

Committee Member 2

Brandon Quillian


The synthesis of palladium nanoparticles (Pd NPs) using materials-directed peptides is a novel, nontoxic approach which exerts a high level of control over the particle size and shape. This biomimetic technique is environmentally benign, featuring nonhazardous ligands and ambient conditions. Nanoparticles are extremely reactive catalysts, boasting a large surface-to-volume ratio when compared to their bulk counterparts. The rational design of these nanoparticles using peptides has been very successful in aqueous environments, but no research has been done to apply it in organic systems. As such, the biomimetic synthesis of Pd NPs in an organic system is here investigated, with ethanol and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as solvents of interest. These systems adapt palladium-binding peptides to incorporate a hydrophobic region on the -N terminus, -C terminus, and both N and C termini to aid in solvent interaction during nanoparticle synthesis. These peptides proved to successfully synthesize colloidal nanoparticles in both ethanol and DMSO. Their subsequent application as catalysts in the Suzuki-Miyaura carbon cross-coupling reaction facilitated a comparison of the peptide-capped nanoparticles’ catalytic activity. Catalytic studies indicate that the S2Pd4S2 peptide, with two hydrophobic regions, produced nanoparticles with the highest catalytic activity as compared to the other major peptides, suggesting that materials-directed peptides may be adapted and tuned to operate effectively in organic solvents.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material


Available for download on Saturday, November 18, 2023