Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

John R. Regalbuto


The goal of this work is to demonstrate the capabilities of benchtop Bragg diffraction in characterizing ultra-small (< 2nm) nanoparticles. To this end we have established a method for accurately separating the background, adjusting for relevant intensity effects, and analyzing the results with Rietveld refinement. This method is applied to the characterization of six silica-supported “noble” metals under ambient conditions: Pt, Pd, Ir, Rh, Ru, and Au. Surprisingly, Bragg diffraction is capable of shining light on this difficult-to-characterize size region – revealing the propensity of these metal nanoparticles to oxidize at room temperature. Preliminary findings for future work are also discussed: extending our method to crystalline supports and fluorescent samples.