Date of Completion


Embargo Period


Major Advisor

Dr. James F. Rusling

Associate Advisor

Dr. Mark W. Peczuh

Associate Advisor

Dr. Jing Zhao

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Active matter is an entity observed in both animate and inanimate systems and exhibits spontaneous movement. An internal mechanism generates the self-driven unit to convert potential energy into mechanical movement. Biomotors and organisms are biologically well-known active systems; however, their movements are quite a complex phenomenon and understanding their driving motive forces and thermodynamic principles are essential. Therefore, the first portion of this thesis focused on the dynamics of an active multiple particle system at the air-water interface.

Benzoquinone active particles were studied and remarkable locomotion phenomena were observed at the air-water interface. Self-motion was evaluated with multiple symmetric circular disks, for which, spontaneous self-propulsion was observed alongside particle collisions and couplings, cycling and foraging for interfacial free energy fields at the interface. Initial studies demonstrated collective behavior could potentially be controlled by particle shape. Therefore, shape studies were conducted and a notable dynamic behavior merely between multiple irregularly shaped BQ collectives, termed flocking arose. This dissipative structure demonstrated perception-action capabilities as revealed by detection and response to thermotaxis and magnetotaxis conditions. Overall, collective self-motion with multiple particles was achieved and primitive thermodynamic principles emerged.

Cancer to-date is an incurable disease; while advances in research and technology have emerged, this disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States. Research cannot pinpoint a methodology proficient in detection, diagnosis, and surveillance. Current strategies remain a challenge due to the complexity of the disease, expense and invasiveness of the procedures. Therefore, development of a simple non-invasive test that specifies risk, stage, and reoccurrence is essential.

The manifestation of cancer involves alteration of protein levels (biomarkers). Biomarkers indicate and differentiate between diseased stricken and healthy states; therefore, a collection of biomarkers would lead to a more accurate and dependable diagnosis. Consequently, the second portion of this thesis involves assessing whether L-selectin (CD62L) can be acknowledged as a new bladder cancer biomarker; more precisely, be recognized as biomarker for metastatic bladder cancer. Assessment was reached by utilizing an established ultrasensitive online electrochemical immunoassay methodology. An eight-electrode nanostructured sensor was modified with CD62L capture antibodies. The sandwiched assay was complete upon antigen capture by magnetic beads massively labeled with both enzyme and secondary antibodies. Results demonstrated CD62L differentiated between bladder cancer stages; therefore, our established methodology revealed CD62L could act as a tumor marker for metastatic potential for distinctive bladder cancer stages.