Dr. Jay Foley


Office:   4056 SCE
Phone:  973-720-3344
Email: foleyj10@wpunj.edu
Webpage: http://nova.wpunj.edu/foleyj10/

Department: Chemistry 
Position: Assistant Professor 
Areas of Specialization: Theoretical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Nanophotonics 


Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Nanoscale Materials, Argonne National Laboratory (2012-2015) 

Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from The University of Chicago (2012) 

M.S. in Chemistry from The University of Chicago (2008) 

B.S. in Chemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology (2006)

Overview of the Foley Research Group

We are deeply interested in the bilateral interaction between light and matter.  We are fascinated by the way that matter can profoundly change light.  By shining light on nanostructured matter, we can squeeze light into dimensions much smaller than its wavelength, slow light to speeds much smaller than its speed in a vacuum, and cause light to carry much more momentum than usual.  This modified light can then interact with atoms and molecules in new and unusual ways. We can use modified light to deposit energy into chemical bonds with surprising efficiency, report back details about the structure and reactivity of matter, and even drive the assembly of complex structures without mechanical intervention.  One of the “impossible” dreams that captivates the imagination of the Foley group is the ability to understand and model physical laws to such an extent that they can be used to design material systems capable of coaxing light to interact with atoms and molecules in precisely the ways that we desire.  Realizing this dream would have far-reaching consequences for many applications, including solar energy conversion, catalysis, imaging, information storage, and the fabrication of nanoscale materials, to name a few.

We pursue these interests by seeking to discover and elucidate new phenomena that occur when light interacts with nanoscale materials.  We also explore how these phenomena can induce change in material and chemical systems.  The basis of our exploration is the study and application of theoretical methods based on the physical laws of quantum mechanics and electrodynamics.  In some cases, appropriate theoretical tools are not available for these explorations.  We seek to create new theoretical tools when they are needed. 

The Foley group believes that scientific progress results from the dogged pursuit and critical examination of creative insights that gradually chip away at mysteries of the natural world, or move closer to the solution of problems that have societal relevance.  We believe that the originators of these insights can be novices as well as experts, perhaps both working together.  We believe that the examination of scientific ideas is most effective when approached from multiple angles, often invoking complementary experimental and theoretical exploration.  We welcome collaboration and participation from curious individuals from all scientific disciplines and with all levels of scientific accomplishment.

Selected Recent Publications

“Design of emitter structures based on resonant perfect absorption for thermophotovoltaic applications”, J. J. Foley IV, C. Ungaro, K. Sun, M. C. Gupta, S. K. Gray, accepted by Optics Express(2015)

“Reversible modulation of surface plasmons in gold nanoparticles enabled by surface redox chemistry” Z. Li*, J. J. Foley IV*, S. Peng, C. –J. Sun, Y. Ren, G. P. Wiederrecht, S. K. Gray, Y. Sun, Angew. Chemie 127, 9076-9079 (2015) *co-first authors

“When are surface plasmon polaritons excited in the Kretschmann-Raether configuration?”, J. J. Foley IV, H. Harutyunyan, D. Rosenmann, R. Divan, G. P. Wiederrecht, S. K. Gray, Sci. Rep. 5, 9929 (2015)

“Inhomogeneous surface plasmon polaritons” J. J. Foley IV, J. M. McMahon, G. C. Schatz, H. Harutyunyan, G. P. Wiederrecht, S. K. Gray, ACS Photonics 1, 739 (2014), [Highlighted by Nanoscience and Technology Division, Argonne National Lab]

“Ultra-confined Modes in Metal Nanoparticle Arrays for Subwavelength Light Guiding and Amplification”, E. Palacios, A. Chen, J. J. Foley IV, S. K. Gray, U. Welp, D. Rosenmann, V. K. Vlasko-Vlasov, Adv. Opt. Mat., 2, 394 (2014).

“Interfaced Metal Heterodimers in the Quantum Size Regime”, Y. Sun*, J. J. Foley IV*, S. Peng, Z. Li, S. K. Gray, Nano Lett., 13, 3958 (2013) (*co-first authors[Highlighted on Argonne Today and by Phys.org]

“Cage versus Prism: Electronic Energies of the Water Hexamer”, J. J. Foley IV, D. A. Mazziotti, J. Phys. Chem. A, 117, 6712 (2013)


  • William Paterson University
  • 300 Pompton Rd
  • Wayne, New Jersey 07470
  • 973-720-2000