Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)

Degree Level



Chemistry & Biochemistry


Jingyi Chen

Committee Member

Jim Hinton

Second Committee Member

Colin Heyes

Third Committee Member

Bill Durham

Fourth Committee Member

Ryan Tian


Inorganic, Materials, Nanoparticles, Synthesis


This dissertation reports the development of synthetic methods concerning rationally-designed, hybrid, and multifunctional nanomaterials. These methods are based on a wet chemical, solution phase approach that utilizes the knowledge of synthetic organic and inorganic chemistry to generate building blocks in solution for the growth of nanocrystals and hybrid nanostructures. This work builds on the prior knowledge of shape-controlled synthesis of noble metal nanocrystals and expands into the challenging realm of the more reactive first row transition metals. Specifically, a microemulsion sol-gel method was developed to synthesize Au-SiO2 dimers as precursors for the synthesis of segmented heterostructures of noble metals that can be used for catalysis. This microemulsion sol-gel method was modified to synthesize an aqueous suspension of oxidation-resistant Cu-SiO2 core-shell nanoparticles that can be used for sensing and catalysis. A thermal decomposition approach was developed, wherein zero-valence metal precursor complexes in the presence of seed nanoparticles produced metal-metal oxide core-shell structures with well-controlled shell thickness. This method was demonstrated on AuCu3-Fe3O4, AuCu3-NiO, and AuCu3-MnO core-shell systems. Switching the core from AuCu3 alloy to pure Cu, this method could extend to Cu-Fe3O4 and Cu-MnO systems. Further etching the Cu core in these core-shell structures led to the formation of the hollow metal oxides which provides a versatile route to hollow nanostructures of metal oxides. This work develops the synthetic library of tools for the production of hybrid nanostructures with multiple functionalities.