Faculty and Staff

Jay J Foley

Professor • Department of Chemistry

Prof. Jonathan Foley (Jay) grew up in Atlanta, GA. He received his B.S. with High Honors in Chemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2006. He went to The University of Chicago as a McCormick Fellow in the Department of Chemistry in 2007; there he earned his M.S. in Chemistry in 2008 and his PhD in Physical Chemistry in 2012 under the advisement of David Mazziotti. Jay also worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Theory and Modeling group in the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory from 2012 to 2015, when he joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry at William Paterson University in Fall of 2015. During his graduate work, he made several advances to Reduced Density Matrix mechanics, an innovative area of electronic structure theory, that have important implications for treating excited-state chemistry from first principles and elucidating quantum dynamical information from experimental measurement. As a Postdoctoral Fellow working under the advisement of Stephen Gray, he used and developed theoretical and computational tools to study light-matter interactions at the nanoscale. Jay's work at Argonne led to the discovery of entirely new optical phenomena in nanophotonics, including Inhomogeneous Surface Plasmon Polaritons on heterogeneous surfaces and charge-transfer plasmons in bimetallic nanostructures. These discoveries were featured in scientific highlights in laboratory communication and in popular science journalism websites like Phys Org. Jay's graduate and postdoctoral work lead to 14 publications from 2009-2012 in leading scientific journals spanning the fields of chemistry, optics, and nanoscience. During this time, he also gave 6 contributed talks, 3 invited talks, and multiple poster presentations on my work at venues including scientific conferences, universities, national laboratories, technology companies, and scientific outreach events. Complementary to Jay's research activity during his doctoral and postdoctoral training, he also pursued teaching, mentoring, and service opportunities aimed at reaching a diverse audience of young learners. During his tenure at Argonne, he partnered with a variety of organizations focused on enhancing access to STEM education and training. As a graduate student at the University of Chicago, he participated in the pilot launch of a collaborative peer-learning approach to general chemistry, in addition to teaching traditional general chemistry and physical chemistry. Jay also served as student ombudsperson in the chemistry department, where he established a weekly graduate student seminar that gave participants a unique opportunity to explore the scientific literature in a collaborative environment. Jay was recognized for these efforts with a Physical Sciences Division Award for Teaching Excellence in 2008, a Departmental Service Award in 2011, and was nominated for Argonne’s Pinnacle of Education award in 2014.

Other Interests

Running, Food


PhD Physical Chemistry, The University of Chicago Chicago, IL


Physical Chemistry, Theoretical Chemistry, Nanoscience, Nanophotonics

No publications uploaded at this time.

Notable Courses Taught

The Chemistry of Cuisine, Nanochemistry and Nanotechnology, Physical Chemistry I & II

By appointment