Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Saber Hussain (Committee Co-chair), S. Narayanan (Committee Member), David Reynolds (Committee Chair)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSEgr)


The objective of this investigation was to further explore the ability of a radio frequency (RF) signal to interact with metal nanoparticles (NPs) for the purposes of remote stimulation or control of cellular processes. Gold and silver NPs have shown the ability to be heated by electromagnetic frequencies, especially for the purpose of deactivating abnormal cells. However, the heating of the NPs in these previous studies was constant and uncontrolled. For this study, our hypothesis was by investigating the RF heating characteristics of NPs and its impact on surface functionalizations, a remotely stimulated control mechanism can be developed at the nanoscale, with applications in the control of cellular signaling. Spherical gold nanoparticles (Au NPs, 4nm and 13nm) and spherical silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs, 8nm) were synthesized, biofunctionalized with oligonucleotides, and hybridized through the oligonucleotide functionalization as a potential method of intracellular control. Initial Au and Ag NP heating studies were conducted by exposure to a 13.56 MHz RF frequency at 400W power output for 180 seconds and sample solution temperature was measured via infrared thermal imaging. Unfunctionalized Au and Ag NPs were tested with all samples showing significant heating of greater than 40°C. Biofunctionalized Au and Ag NPs showed significantly less heat transfer to solution, indicating most heat transfer was absorbed by oligonucleotide. Biocompatibility assessment studies were also conducted on the unfunctionalized and functionalized Au and Ag NPs and did not show any significant impact on cell viability after 24 hours. In summary, the feasibility of NP surface functionalization through RF heating is shown with investigation into the NP heating and heat transfer mechanisms.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biomedical, Industrial & Human Factors Engineering

Year Degree Awarded