Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Wounjhang Park

Second Advisor

Frank Barnes

Third Advisor

Carol J. Cogswell

Fourth Advisor

Jennifer N. Cha

Fifth Advisor

Thomas W. Flaig


This thesis reports syntheses and surface modifications of various nanoparticles, including plasmonic, upconversion, and indium tin oxide nanoparticles for in situ bladder cancer detection and treatment.

The first part of this thesis reports a new and efficient polyethylene glycol (PEG) coating of gold nanorods (AuNRs). This coating technique is proven not only to be more stable in water compared to conventional coating methods, but also allows conjugation of an anti-epidermal growth factor receptor, C-225 antibodies. The AuNRs conjugated with C-225 antibodies (CNR) is then used in both in vitro and in vivo settings to demonstrate specific, targeted treatment capabilities by utilizing the surface plasmon of the AuNRs. The in vitro study demonstrates the possibility of engineering an effective dosage of CNR-based bladder cancer treatment and the in vivo studies further demonstrate that in the presence of both CNR and laser irradiation, there was a significant reduction of tumor in mice.

The second part of this thesis involves synthesis and surface modification of upconversion nanophosphors (UCNPs) to create multifunctional nanoclusters. Because the UCNPs upconvert NIR photons into visible photons, they are ideal for high-contrast imaging applications. Here, we coated the UCNPs through a hydrophobic interaction and then tethered them first with C-225 antibodies and then with AuNRs. The final UCNP-AuNR nanoclusters were used to demonstrate (1) high-contrast, targeted imaging of bladder cancer cells and (2) subsequent killing of bladder cancer cells by utilizing the surface plasmon of AuNRs in vitro.

The final portion of this thesis is focused on trying to synthesize a more efficient upconverting nanoparticles than conventional UCNPs. We observed a broadband, upconverted photoluminescence (PL) from the ITO nanoparticles. The power-dependent PL study showed that at higher excitation power densities, the upconverted PL from the ITO nanoparticles exceeded that of conventional UCNPs. By using ITO nanoparticles instead of UCNPs, we have the potential to create brighter targeted imaging agents that are more physically robust than conventional UCNPs.