Publication Date

Spring 2020

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Matthew Nee (Director), Dr. Eric Conte, and Dr. Bangbo Yan

Degree Program

Department of Chemistry

Degree Type

Master of Science


An effective method for monitoring chemical reactions is necessary to better understand their mechanisms and kinetics. Effective reaction monitoring requires a spectroscopy technique with fast data acquisition, high sensitivity, structure-to-spectrum correlation, and low solvent interference. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) provides these features, which makes it a valuable tool for monitoring reactions. To obtain the Raman enhancement, metallic nanostructures typically made of silver or gold are aggregated using a salt. The nanoparticles aggregates must then be stabilized using a surfactant to use this method in situ due to eventual nanoparticle precipitation. In this study, gold nanoparticles stabilized with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) were used to monitor an aqueous reaction involving rhodamine 6G (R6G) and hydroxide ion. Through a series of experiments, the most probable reaction mechanism for this reaction was determined from three predicted mechanisms: saponification, dimerization, and deprotonation. The deprotonation mechanism resulted in the most supporting evidence, and the saponification and dimerization mechanisms were rejected as probable reaction mechanisms.


Optics | Organic Chemistry | Physical Chemistry