Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to investigate the self-assembly of gold nanoparticles to create thin, densely packed structures several monolayers thick for the synthesis of a membrane. Silica membrane synthesis was examined as a support for deposition of the nanoparticles. Pore size formation and thickness were controlled to promote high flux, defect free layer formation while providing for optimum separation. Silica mesoporous membranes were created through the acid-catalyzed hydrolysis of tetraethyl orthosilicate. An ionic block co-polymer was used to control a networked pore formation. The silica sols were dip coated on macroporous alumina supports. The silica membranes were characterized through gas permeance testing and determined to have a pore formation in the mesoporous range. The films were found to be defect free and thin resulting in a high flux through the membrane. Multi-gas testing indicated that flux is inversely proportional to the inverse square root of temperature. Gold Nanoparticles were synthesized at an estimated 15+/-2nm in diameter. The gold nanoparticles were plated in a multi-layered packing arrangement onto the silica membranes using a Langmuir-Blodgett dipping technique. Characterization of the disks was completed. The gold nanoparticle films were found to have a high permeance indicating a thin membrane.