The importance of a comprehensive characterization protocol for gold nanoparticle (AuNP) products and the need for manufacturers to include product specifications is demonstrated in this study.
Dissertation consisted of two independent research projects. First, condom lubricants, sexual lubricants, and personal hygiene products (PHPs) were studied, using direct analysis in real time-time-of-flight-mass spectrometry (DART-TOFMS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). This project addressed the circumstance in which perpetrators of sex offenses use condoms to remove seminal fluids that could provide a DNA link to a suspect. This creates the need to consider condom lubricants as evidence in a sexual assault. Due to condom lubricants having a chemical composition similar to PHPs, the investigation of both sample groups was analyzed to prevent false positives. Although past research has focused on the identification of major lubricant groups and additives, distinguishing between such samples is insufficient. The discriminatory capability and rapid analysis of samples using DART-TOFMS was illustrated in this project through resolution among the sample groups and higher classification rates. Lubricant analysis was introduced in this research as a viable source of evidence, with testing that detailed their discrimination from common hygiene products, using DART-TOFMS as a robust tool for the analysis of sexual assault evidence. In the second part of this two-part research project, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) were characterized using dynamic light scattering (DLS), Ultraviolet-Visible spectroscopy (UV-VIS), dark field imaging (DFM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Following characterization, AuNPs were used in protein adsorption study from blood serum concentration and to observe how the difference in their characterization affected their interactions with blood serum proteins. AuNPs are of interest in the bioanalytical sector due to their optical properties, scattering of light, and high surface-to-volume ratio. A common issue confronting the forensic field is the difficulty of inter/intra laboratory reproducibility from one characterization technique. This further affects the understanding of how AuNPs may react for diagnostic and other applications.