Joseph Keene


Assistant Professor

B.S., Wake Forest University, 2009
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2015

Member of the Mercer University faculty since 2015


Contact Info
Godsey Science Center, Room 426
(478) 301-2341


CHM 111: General Chemistry I
CHM 112: General Chemistry II
CHM 295: Chemical Research
CHM 341: Instrumental Analysis
CHM 371: Problems in Chemistry I
CHM 401 / 402: Senior Research I / II
CHM 481: Advanced Topics in Chemistry / Materials Chemistry
UNV 101: First Year Student Experience


Research Interests 
Quantum Dots (QDs): Synthesis, Spectroscopy, and Surface Chemistry
Current research projects focus on the thermodynamics of the surface modification of semiconductor nanocrystals. We are deploying isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) to investigate ligand exchange reactions on nanomaterials. In addition to providing unprecedented fundamental understanding of these critical reactions, this work enables optimization of current ligand exchange protocol to be more efficient, reducing chemical consumption and time. These efforts also alleviate adverse effects on the QDs that may result from the surface modification process.

We are also working to adapt existing, alternative techniques to determine chemical composition of nanomaterials. In particular, portable spectroscopic techniques are being explored as mobile, benchtop-configurable and low-cost solutions to determine elemental compositions of quantum dots.

Corrosion Prevention, Control, and Detection 
I am also working with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to investigate and provide solutions to corrosion issues faced by USAF support equipment and vehicles (SE&V), or aerospace ground equipment (AGE), in harsh and corrosive environments.


Orfield, N. J.; McBride, J. R.; Wang, F.; Buck, M. R.; Keene, J. D.; Reid, K. R.; Htoon, H.; Hollingsworth, J. A.; Rosenthal, S. J.; Quantum Yield Heterogeneity among Single Nonblinking Quantum Dots Revealed by Atomic Structure-Quantum Optics Correlation. ACS Nano 2016, 10 (2), 1960-1968.

Orfield, N. J.; McBride, J. R.; Keene, J. D.; Rosenthal, S. J.; Correlation of Atomic Structure and Photoluminescence of the Same Quantum Dot: Pinpointing Surface and Internal Defects that Inhibit Photoluminescence. ACS Nano 2015, 9 (1), 831-839.

Keene, J. D.; McBride, J. R.; Orfield, N. J.; Rosenthal, S. J. Elimination of Hole-Surface Overlap in Graded CdSxSe1-x Nanocrystals Revealed By Ultrafast Fluorescence Upconversion Spectroscopy. ACS Nano 2014, 8 (10), 10665-10673.

Niezgoda, J. S.; Yap, E.; Keene, J. D.; McBride, J. R.; Rosenthal, S. J. Plasmonic CuxInyS2 Quantum Dots Make Better Photovoltaics Than Their non-Plasmonic Counterparts. Nano Letters 2014, 14 (6), 3262-3269.

Kochemba, W. M.; Pickel, D. L.; Keene, J. D., Rosenthal, S. J.; Sumpter, B. G.; Chen, J.; Kilbey, S. M., II, In Situ Formation of Pyridyl-Functionalized Poly(3-hexylthiophene)s via Quenching of the Grignard Metathesis Polymerization: Toward Ligands for Semiconductor Quantum Dots. Chemistry of Materials 2012, 24 (22), 4459-4467.

Dukes, A. D., III; Samson, P. C.; Keene, J. D.; Davis, L. M.; Wikswo, J. P.; Rosenthal, S. J., Single-Nanocrystal Spectroscopy of White-Light-Emitting CdSe Nanocrystals. Journal of Physical Chemistry A 2011, 115(16), 4076-4081.

Hanna, S. N.; Keene, J.; Calloway, C. P., Jr.; Jones, B. T., Design of a Portable Electrothermal Vaporization Flame Atomic Emission Spectrometry Device for Field Analysis. Instrumentation Science & Technology 2011, 39 (4), 345-356.