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Scanning Probe Studies of Thin Films


Varghese, Joseph O. (2014) Scanning Probe Studies of Thin Films. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z95B00DK.


The first part of this thesis deals with the phenomenon of thermoelectricity. It involves the improvement of the thermoelectric properties of silicon using innovative nanostructures. My contribution was to help fabricate these thermoelectric devices, and is the focus of this part of the thesis.

The second part and primary focus of this thesis is the analysis of thin films using scanning probe techniques. These surface techniques include atomic force microscopy, electric force microscopy, Kelvin probe force microscopy, and scanning tunneling microscopy. The thin films studied are graphene and molybdenum disulfide, two remarkable materials that display unique two-dimensional qualities. These materials are shown to be useful in studying the properties of adsorbates trapped between them and the substrate on which they rest. Moreover, these adsorbed species are seen to affect the structural and electronic properties of the thin films themselves. Scanning probe analyses are particularly useful in elucidating the properties of these materials, as surface effects play a significant role in determining their characteristics.

The final part of this thesis is concerned with the study of Akt in live cells using protein capture agents previously developed by my colleagues. The activation and degradation of Akt is investigated using various biological assays, including Western blots, in vitro kinase assays, and cell viability assays. Finally, the usefulness of synthetic capture agents in perturbing protein pathways and as delivery agents is assessed and analyzed.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Scanning Probe Microscopy, Graphene, Molybdenum Disulfide
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Heath, James R.
Thesis Committee:
  • Heath, James R. (chair)
  • Gray, Harry B.
  • Tirrell, David A.
  • Kornfield, Julia A.
Defense Date:9 May 2014
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05202014-111613067
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted for ch. 1 adapted for ch. 2 adapted for ch. 3 adapted for ch. 5
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8248
Deposited By: Joseph Varghese
Deposited On:19 Sep 2016 23:38
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:04

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