Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Zi-Ling (Ben) Xue

Committee Members

Michael D. Best, Michael J. Sepaniak, Hong Guo


Detection of chromium and vanadium is of interest for biomedical and environmental applications. The two metals have narrow limits between being essential and toxic for humans. Ultra-sensitive techniques have been studied to measure Cr and V at low concentrations found in human blood and environmental samples. Bismuth film and mercury-alloy electrodes have been developed as alternatives to traditional Hg-based electrodes for Cr and V detection. While catalytic adsorptive stripping voltammetry (CAdSV) has been used to detect Cr and V, little is known about the process. The mechanisms of CAdSV have been probed to provide a better understanding of its exceptional sensitivity and selectivity.

Near-real time monitoring of plume gas constituents is desired as a diagnostic tool for combustion efficiency, ensuring safe testing conditions and observing releases of green house gasses. Ground testing rockets is a crucial preliminary step that ensures their performance during critical space missions. Optical sol-gel sensors for carbon dioxide have been developed for remote sensing applications. They are inexpensive and are compatible with the harsh environments encountered during rocket plume tests. The sensors are a viable approach to compliment current infrared (IR) measurements for real-time carbon dioxide detection. Additional work on kerosene and isopropyl alcohol sensing has been explored for incorporation into a multi-analyte sensing platform.

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