Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Ashis Mukhopadhyay


Soft matter is a subfield of condensed matter physics including systems such as polymers, colloids, amphiphiles and liquid crystals. Understanding their interaction and dynamics is essential for many interdisciplinary fields of study as well as important for technological advancements. We used gold nanorods (AuNRs) to investigate the length-scale dependent dynamics in semidilute polymer solutions, their conjugation and interaction with a protein bovine serum albumin (BSA), and the effect of shape anisotropy on the dynamics within a crowded solution of spheres. Multiphoton fluctuation correlation spectroscopy (MP-FCS) technique was used to investigate the translation and rotational diffusion of AuNRs. For polymer solutions, we determined the nanoviscosity experienced by the rods from the measured diffusion coefficient. Our results showed the importance of microscopic friction in determing the particle dynamics. In BSA solutions, we observed a submonolayer formation at the AuNRs surface, which indicates loss of protein native conformation. For rod – sphere mixture, our results indicated significant diffusional anisotropy for translational motion, whereas the rotation of the rods closely followed the ‘caging theory’.

Included in

Physics Commons