Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics


Chemistry and Biochemistry

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Shifeng Hou

Committee Member

Johannes P. Schelvis

Committee Member

John Siekierka


Graphene is a two-dimensional monolayer of tightly packed sp2 hybridized Carbon atoms. Formed from graphite, the theoretical surface area of the monolayer is about 2630 m2/g, and the initial formation of graphene oxide from graphite oxide introduces a variety o f functional groups, such as -COOH, -C=0, and -OH, on its surface. The high surface area and the rich presence of functional groups, along with the potential formation o f sp2 bonding networks within graphene oxide, all serve as critical factors allowing for additional chemical modifications. There are extensive research attempts being performed to explore and manipulate its shape, composition, and physical properties, rendering graphene as one o f the most prominent and studied nanomaterial to date. It has been widely regarded as an incredibly strong and durable material, and as a good thermal and electrical conductor, can potentially replace silicon in its wide variety o f applications. In addition to applying the conductive properties, graphene is also being considered as biodevices, such as biosensors, DNA sequencing components, and anti-bacterial hygiene product. The purpose o f this research was to modify graphene oxide utilizing electroless gold plating techniques, and determine its viability in various applications. Previous research has shown that graphene oxide can provide reactive sites for nucleation and propagation o f metal nanoparticles, due to the oxygen functionalization at the surface o f graphene sheets. The electroless gold plating technique involved treating graphene oxide with a series o f metal solutions, initially with Sn2+, then with Ag+, and finally with Au3+, for a serial reduction o f metals on its surfaces. The resulting graphene oxide product was then inspected with SEM and TEM instruments. Further investigation o f its conductivity with electrochemistry techniques explored its variety of potentials, such as an electrode material for sensors, batteries, fuel cells and supercapacitors, as well as a supporting catalyst in chemical catalysis reactions, and a building block for new nanocomposites. In addition, the graphene oxide was considered as a potential biosensor, with its capability of detecting H2O2 as a silver nanoparticle deposited composite.

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