Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Mesoporous Materials, Sulfated Zirconia, Black Titania, Nanomaterials, Biodiesel, Electrocatalysis, Molecular Imprinting

Major Advisor

Dr. Steven L. Suib

Associate Advisor

Dr. Amy R. Howell

Associate Advisor

Dr. Alfredo Angeles-Boza

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The research work presented in this thesis is focused on design, synthesis, and characterization of transition metal oxide nanomaterials for environmental and energy applications. New synthetic techniques are designed and optimized for improved catalytic activity of the prepared materials over the conventional techniques. The nanomaterials were thoroughly characterized and used in various chemical reactions.

There are five chapters in this thesis. Chapter one provides background information and significance about four research projects presented in this thesis. Chapter two explains the catalyst design and single step synthesis of mesoporous sulfated zirconia using inverse micelle templated method for biodiesel production. This inverse micelle templated single step synthesis method for sulfated metal oxide solid acid is novel and provides high thermal stability and better catalytic activity than nonporous sulfated materials. Chapter three describes the synthesis of artificial antibody-like binding sites on silica nanoparticle using molecular imprinting technique. Human serum albumin (HSA) and glucose oxidase (GOx) proteins were used as templates to prepare artificial antibodies. Our results showed that the template proteins, HAS and GOx, bind much more strongly to their respective artificial antibodies than other non-templated proteins. Chapter four discusses a facile synthesis of cobalt oxide/cobalt sulfide carbon (carbon nanotube or graphene oxide) hybrid material for electrocatalytic hydrogen production. Finally, chapter five suggests the mild transformation of mesoporous titanium dioxide (TiO2) into black titanium dioxide nanomaterial with H2/Ar under ambient pressure. Reduced of the prepared TiO2 material also led to different colored TiO2 (yellow, gray, black) depending on reaction time and temperature. The correlation between color, structure, and reactivity of these materials was presented in this chapter.