Joe Tracy

Associate Professor

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  • Engineering Building I (EB1) 3074D
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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


Heteroaggregation approach for depositing magnetite nanoparticles onto silica-overcoated gold nanorods
Chapman, B. S., Wu, W. C., Lo, Q. C., Holten-Andersen, N., & Tracy, J. B. (2017), Chemistry of Materials, 29(24), 10362-10368.
Microwave enhancement of autocatalytic growth of nanometals
Ashley, B., Vakil, P. N., Lynch, B. B., Dyer, C. M., Tracy, J. B., Owens, J., & Strouse, G. F. (2017), ACS Nano, 11(10), 9957-9967.
Enhanced electrochemical lithium-ion charge storage of iron oxide nanosheets
Niu, S., McFeron, R., Godinez-Salomon, F., Chapman, B. S., Damin, C. A., Tracy, J. B., Augustyn, V., & Rhodes, C. P. (2017), Chemistry of Materials, 29(18), 7794-7807.
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., Ostrowski, L. E., & Oldenburg, A. L. (2017), Nanoscale, 9(15), 4907-4917.
Chained iron microparticles for directionally controlled actuation of soft robots
Schmauch, M. M., Mishra, S. R., Evans, B. A., Velevt, O. D., & Tracy, J. B. (2017), ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 9(13), 11895-11901.
Size and composition control of CoNi nanoparticles and their conversion into phosphides
Marusak, K. E., Johnston-Peck, A. C., Wu, W. C., Anderson, B. D., & Tracy, J. B. (2017), Chemistry of Materials, 29(7), 2739-2747.
Silica overcoating of CdSe/CdS Core/shell quantum dot nanorods with controlled morphologies
Anderson, B. D., Wu, W. C., & Tracy, J. B. (2016), Chemistry of Materials, 28(14), 4945-4952.
Diffusion-sensitive optical coherence tomography for real-time monitoring of mucus thinning treatments
Blackmon, R. L., Kreda, S. M., Sears, P. R., Ostrowski, L. E., Hill, D. B., Chapman, B. S., Tracy, J. B., & Oldenburg, A. L. (2016), In Optical coherence tomography and coherence domain optical methods in biomedicine xx. (Proceedings of SPIE-the International Society for Optical Engineering, 9697).
Imaging extracellular matrix remodeling in vitro by diffusion-sensitive optical coherence tomography
Blackmon, R. L., Sandhu, R., Chapman, B. S., Casbas-Hernandez, P., Tracy, J. B., Troester, M. A., & Oldenburg, A. L. (2016), Biophysical Journal, 110(8), 1858-1868.
Selective and directional actuation of elastomer films using chained magnetic nanoparticles
Mishra, S. R., Dickey, M. D., Velev, O. D., & Tracy, J. B. (2016), Nanoscale, 8(3), 1309-1313.

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