Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. David Atwood


The focus of this dissertation is on the interactions of compounds containing group 12 and 16 elements. This work is presented in three major parts. First, the interaction of the synthetic dithiol N,N’-bis(2-mercaptoethyl)isophthalamide), abbreviated BDTH2, with selenite. Second, the interaction of cysteine with Cd(II) and the biologically relevant Cd-Cysteine crystal structure. Third, the green synthesis of CdSe quantum dots (QDs).

The interaction of BDTH2 with selenite is different from the interactions with other metals and metalloids previously studied. Under ambient conditions, BDTH2 is oxidized to the disulfide, BDT(S-S), while selenite is reduced to elemental selenium. However, under carefully controlled conditions, the reaction of BDTH2 with selenite produces a mixture of BDT(S-S) and the covalently bound Se(II) species, BDT(S-Se-S). While the mixture could not be separated, experimental 77Se NMR combined with computational analysis confirmed the presence of BDT(S-Se-S).

The interaction of the amino acid cysteine with Cd(II) was studied as a means to sequester, and potentially recycle, Cd(II) from bulk CdS waste. Single crystals of Cd(Cys)Cl·H2O were grown, and the crystal structure determined. Surprisingly, this is only the second structure to be determined by X-ray crystallography of a compound containing the Cd-Cysteine unit. Not only does this structure have biological relevance, but it also corrects a structure proposed in 1965.

Using the knowledge gained from studying the interaction of BDTH2 with selenite, a green synthesis of water-soluble CdSe QDs by the reaction of selenite with Cd(Cys)Cl·H2O in water at room temperature was developed. This green method for the synthesis of CdSe QDs was extended to ZnSe and HgSe QDs. The mechanism of CdSe formation was investigated using Cd(II) combined with various thiols.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)