Publication Date

Summer 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Yan Cao (Director), Bangbo Yan, and Darwin Dahl

Degree Program

Department of Chemistry

Degree Type

Master of Science


To investigate the interaction between nanoparticles and electromagnetic waves, a numerical simulation model based on FEM was built in this thesis. Numerical simulation is an important auxiliary research method besides experiments. The optical properties of nanoparticles consist of scattering, absorption, and extinction, and in the case of nanoparticle suspension, the transmission is also involved. This thesis addressed two typical applications based on the established model, one was regarding the nanofluids for solar energy harvesting, and the other was regarding the optical properties of atmospheric soot. In the case of the nanofluids solar energy harvesting, the established model provided a convenient and rapid screening of potential nanoparticles and nanofluids candidates for solar energy harvesting. A core-shell structure nanoparticle, using Cu as the core material in a diameter of 90 nm coated with 5 nm thickness graphene, exhibited a better photothermal property under the solar radiation. In the second case regarding atmospheric soot, the established model provided an efficient method for understandings on the optical properties and warming effects of realistic soot particles. It was found that the sizes and material characteristics of soot, would greatly affect their scattering and absorption of light. Moreover, two submodels were introduced and integrated, which can better predict behaviors of real atmospheric soot involving their core-shell structures (moisture or organic condensates) and their fractal agglomerate structures. In conclusion, the established model helps to understand the interaction between nanoparticles and electromagnetic waves, which shows great potentials of wide applications.


Environmental Chemistry | Materials Chemistry | Optics