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Sandra J. Rosenthal

Jack and Pamela Egan Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Physics, Pharmacology, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Director, Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering


In the Rosenthal group we study semiconductor nanocrystals, a novel material whose optical properties and electronic structure can be precisely tuned by controlling the size or composition of the nanocrystal. We perform fundamental optical studies for example: femtosecond florescence upconversion spectroscopy and single nanocrystal spectroscopy.  We are exploiting the properties of nanocrystals for implementation as biological probes for membrane proteins involved in neuronal signaling. We also have a program to explore the possible use of nanocrystal white light emitters for implementation in energy efficient solid state lighting and novel technologies.


Distinguished Alumni Award, Valparaiso University Alumni Association, 2016
SEC Faculty Achievement Award, 2014
VINSE High Impact Paper Award, 2013, 2015
Inaugural Jack & Pamela Egan Chair of Chemistry, 2011
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2011
Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2009
Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award, 2006
Distinguished Faculty Award, 2004
Madison-Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2004
NSF CAREER Award, 1999
NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1993

Selected Publications:

Quantum Yield Heterogeneity among Single Nonblinking Quantum Dots Revealed by Atomic Structure-Quantum Optics Correlation. Orfield, NJ; McBrid, JR; Wang, F; Buck, MR; Keene, JD; Reid, KR; Htoon, H; Hollingsworth, JA; Rosenthal, SJ, ACS NANO, 10, 1960-1968 , (2016) View Abstract

Elimination of Hole-Surface Overlap in Graded CdSxSe1-x Nanocrystals Revealed by Ultrafast Fluorescence Upconversion Spectroscopy. Keene, JD; McBride, JR; Orfield, NJ; Rosenthal, SJ, ACS NANO, 8, 10665-+ , (2014) View Abstract

The Possibility and Implications of Dynamic Nanoparticle Surfaces. McBride, JR; Pennycook, TJ; Pennycook, SJ; Rosenthal, SJ, ACS NANO, 7, 8358-8365 , (2013) View Abstract

Bright White Light Emission from Ultrasmall Cadmium Selenide Nanocrystals. Rosson, TE; Claiborne, SM; McBride, JR; Stratton, BS; Rosenthal, SJ, JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 134, 8006-8009 , (2012) View Abstract

Single Molecule Analysis of Serotonin Transporter Regulation Using Antagonist-Conjugated Quantum Dots Reveals Restricted, p38 MAPK-Dependent Mobilization Underlying Uptake Activation. Chang, JC; Tomlinson, ID; Warnement, MR; Ustione, A; Carneiro, AMD; Piston, DW; Blakely, RD; Rosenthal, SJ, JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, 32, 8919-8929 , (2012) View Abstract