Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Tivanski, Alexei V

First Committee Member

Kohen, Amnon

Second Committee Member

MacGillivray, Leonard

Third Committee Member

Cheatum, Christopher

Fourth Committee Member

Wohlgenannt, Markus


Techniques that measure physical properties at the nanoscale with high sensitivity are significantly limited considering the number of new nanomaterials being developed. The development of atomic force microscopy (AFM) has lead to significant advancements in the ability to characterize physical properties of materials in all areas of science: chemistry, physics, engineering, and biology have made great scientific strides do to the versatility of the AFM. AFM is used for quantification of many physical properties such as morphology, electrical, mechanical, magnetic, electrochemical, binding interactions, and protein folding. This work examines the electrical and mechanical properties of materials applicable to the field of nano-electronics. As electronic devices are miniaturized the demand for materials with unique electrical properties, which can be developed and exploited, has increased. For example, discussed in this work, a derivative of tetrathiafulvalene, which exhibits a unique loss of conductivity upon compression of the self-assembled monolayer could be developed into a molecular switch. This work also compares tunable organic (tetraphenylethylene tetracarboxylic acid and bis(pyridine)s assemblies) and metal-organic (Silver-stilbizole coordination compounds) crystals which show high electrical conductivity. The electrical properties of these materials vary depending on their composition allowing for the development of compositionally tunable functional materials. Additional work was done to investigate the effects of molecular environment on redox active 11-ferroceneyl-1 undecanethiol (Fc) molecules. The redox process of mixed monolayers of Fc and decanethiol was measured using conductive probe atomic force microscopy and force spectroscopy. As the concentration of Fc increased large, variations in the force were observed. Using these variations the number of oxidized molecules in the monolayer was determined. AFM is additionally capable of investigating interactions at the nanoscale, such as ligand-receptor interactions. This work examines the interactions between the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), a widely investigated enzyme targeted for cancer and antimicrobial pharmaceutical, and methotrexate (MTX), a strong competitive inhibitor of DHFR. The DHFR was immobilized on a gold substrate, bound through a single surface cysteine, and maintained catalytic activity. AFM probe was functionalized with MTX and the interaction strength was measured using AFM. This work highlights the versatility of AFM, specifically force spectroscopy for the quantification of electrical, mechanical, and ligand-receptor interactions at the nanoscale.


xii, 111 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 102-111).


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Copyright © 2012 Lindsay Rachel Ditzler

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