Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

David A. Smith, PhD


Nanotechnology is quickly becoming incorporated into everyday products and uses. Silver nanoparticles, specifically, are being used in commercial products, to include aerosols. The purpose of this research was to determine whether silver nanoparticles are toxic to human lung epithelial cells. Different types (coated vs. uncoated), concentrations (10, 50, 100, and 200 µg/mL) and sizes (coated 5 and 80nm, uncoated 10 and 80nm) of silver nanoparticles were used during this study. Toxicity measurements were completed through in vitro techniques. Another study was also completed on toxicity mechanisms by measuring the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated. Results showed that silver nanoparticles induce mitochondrial toxicity through a size and concentration dependent manner. Increasing the concentration yielded increased toxicity and the smaller the size induced increased toxicity to the mitochondria. Results also showed that the uncoated nanoparticles were also more toxic to the cells than the coated nanoparticles. The small nanoparticles (coated 5, uncoated 10nm) induced more formation of the ROS than the larger nanoparticles (80nm).

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