Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ishrat Khan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Cass Parker, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Xiao-Qian Wang, Ph.D.


Poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(styrene)-poly(ethylene oxide) triblock copolymer with di-hydroxyl terminated groups (HO-PEO-PS-PEO-OH) was conjugated with nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) via esterification reaction using N,N'-Dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCC), 4-Dimethylaminopyridine (DMAP) and Dimethylformamide (DMF) as a solvent at 80 C. The poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(styrene)-poly(ethylene oxide) with NTA end groups (NTA-PEO-PS-PEO-NTA) was characterized and structure confirmed by 1H NMR, 13C NMR, and FT-IR spectroscopies.

Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) was carried out to investigate the thermal stability of the starting triblock copolymer poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(styrene)-poly(ethylene oxide) with di-hydroxyl terminated groups (HO-PEO-PS-PEO-OH) and the conjugated poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(styrene)-poly(ethylene oxide) functional polymer (NTA-PEO-PS-PEO-NTA). Surface morphologies of the (HO-PEO-PS-PEO-OH) and (NTA-PEO-PS-PEO-NTA) were studied by atomic force microscopy. In addition, the size distributions were determined using dynamic light scattering. The thermal behavior of the (HO-PEO-PS-PEO-OH) and (NTA-PEO-PS-PEO-NTA) were examined by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). DSC thermograms indicate the formation of a two phase polymer matrix.

The poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(styrene)-poly(ethylene oxide) with NTA functionalized end groups (NTA-PEO-PS-PEO-NTA) was bound or chelated with Ni(II) metal ion. The binding studies were carried out by ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy.

The electronic behaviors of PEO-b-PS-b-PEO/ PS/ NTA-PEO-b-PS-b-PEO-NTA with ratio (1/5/1) and PEO-b-PS-b-PEO/ PS/ NTA-PEO-b-PS-b-PEO-NTA-Ni containing 1% of oxidized single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) were investigated by I–V plots from Kelvin sensing. The I–V plots before sensitizing with protein varied from the I–V plots after binding with protein indicating that the composites may be used as active components in biosensors.