Joseph Tracy


University Faculty Scholar
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Many kinds of nanoscale materials have size- and shape-tunable physical properties arising from their reduced dimensions and high surface area to volume ratio. We prepare colloidal magnetic, metallic, and semiconductor nanoparticles using a “bottom-up” approach starting from molecular precursors. Surface functionalization allows for integration with other kinds of materials, such as polymers and biological systems. Applying magnetic fields to suspensions of magnetic nanoparticles drives their assembly into chains, altering their magnetic and mechanical properties. The surface plasmon resonance of noble metal nanoparticles is sensitive to interparticle coupling and is useful for photothermal heating. Semiconductor quantum dots have high fluorescence quantum yields and are not susceptible to photobleaching.

Dr. Tracy’s research interests include the synthesis, characterization, and self-assembly of colloidal magnetic, metallic, and semiconductor nanoparticles, and their applications in composite materials, medicine, and catalysis.


Ph.D. 2005

Physical Chemistry

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

B.S. 2000


University of California, Santa Barbara


3D-Printed Silicone Soft Architectures with Programmed Magneto-Capillary Reconfiguration
Roh, S., Okello, L. B., Golbasi, N., Hankwitz, J. P., Liu, J. A.-C., Tracy, J. B., & Velev, O. D. (2019), ADVANCED MATERIALS TECHNOLOGIES, 4(4).
Direct electrospinning of titania nanofibers with ethanol
Chapman, B. S., Mishra, S. R., & Tracy, J. B. (2019), DALTON TRANSACTIONS, 48(34), 12822–12827.
Photothermally and magnetically controlled reconfiguration of polymer composites for soft robotics
Liu, J. A.-C., Gillen, J. H., Mishra, S. R., Evans, B. A., & Tracy, J. B. (2019), SCIENCE ADVANCES, 5(8).
Quantification of Interface-Dependent Plasmon Quality Factors Using Single-Beam Nonlinear Optical Interferometry
Zhao, T., Steves, M. A., Chapman, B. S., Tracy, J. B., & Knappenberger, K. L., Jr. (2018), Analytical Chemistry, 10(22), 13702–13707.
Sequential Actuation of Shape-Memory Polymers through Wavelength-Selective Photothermal Heating of Gold Nanospheres and Nanorods
Mishra, S. R., & Tracy, J. B. (2018), ACS Applied Nano Materials, 6.
Understanding and Controlling the Morphology of Silica Shells on Gold Nanorods
Rowe, L. R., Chapman, B. S., & Tracy, J. B. (2018), Chemistry of Materials, 9(18), 6249–6258.
Chained Iron Microparticles for Directionally Controlled Actuation of Soft Robots
Schmauch, M. M., Mishra, S. R., Evans, B. A., Velev, O. D., & Tracy, J. B. (2017), ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 9(13), 11895–11901.
Direct monitoring of pulmonary disease treatment biomarkers using plasmonic gold nanorods with diffusion-sensitive OCT
Blackmon, R. L., Kreda, S. M., Sears, P. R., Chapman, B. S., Hill, D. B., Tracy, J. B., … Oldenburg, A. L. (2017), Nanoscale, 9(15), 4907–4917.
Enhanced Electrochemical Lithium-Ion Charge Storage of Iron Oxide Nanosheets
Niu, S., McFeron, R., Godínez-Salomón, F., Chapman, B. S., Damin, C. A., Tracy, J. B., … Rhodes, C. P. (2017), Chemistry of Materials, 29(18), 7794–7807.
Heteroaggregation Approach for Depositing Magnetite Nanoparticles onto Silica-Overcoated Gold Nanorods
Chapman, B. S., Wu, W.-C., Li, Q., Holten-Andersen, N., & Tracy, J. B. (2017), Chemistry of Materials, 29(24), 10362–10368.

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