Potenza, Joseph A.


Joe Potenza

Phone: 848-445-2115

E-mail: E-mail

FAX: 732-445-5312

Office: Wright Rieman Labs 182/190

Mail: Chemistry & Chemical Biology, 610 Taylor Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854


Education Links
  • B.S. 1962, Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn
  • Ph.D. 1967, Harvard
  • A. P. Sloan Foundation Fellow 1972-74
  • Alexander von Humboldt U. S. Senior Scientist Award 1974
  • Visiting Professor, University of Munster 1974-75
  • Visiting Professor, Jilin University, China 1983

Research Summary

Preparation and characterization of novel inorganic complexes

One project involves the preparation and characterization of novel complexes of metal ions such as Cu(II) and Ni(II) with multidentate ligands containing thiolate, disulfide and imidazole ligands. Recently, we reported the preparation and characterization of an unusual trinickel species that contained nickel(II), nickel(I) and I(I) [iodonium] in a single cation. Currently, we are examining a complex system that contains isomers that differ only in the length of two bonds.

Self-coordinating metalloporphyrin as models of bacteriochlorophyll

A second project deals with the preparation and characterization of self -coordinating metalloporphyrin and related dimers that serve as useful models for the special pairs of overlapping bacteriochlorophyll molecules present in bacterial photosystems. Our goal is to understand how the relative orientation of these molecules gives rise to the unique spectral properties of these systems. Three different porphyrin and bacteriochlorin dimers have been studied extensively to date. Both projects are conducted in collaboration with professors Schugar and Knapp of this department

Chemical education: Undergraduate chemistry for nonscientists

A third interest is chemical education. With the help of NSF funding, we have designed a novel undergraduate course intended for nonscientists. The goal of "Impact of Chemistry" is to help create an informed citizenry capable of appreciating science and of critically analyzing complex issues involving science. Written assignments (essays), classroom participation (public speaking) and group work (teamwork) are integral to the course, along with the expected problem solving, experimentation and introduction to the methodology and content of chemistry. The course contains two-week modules in which chemical principles are intertwined with social/politica1/environmental/ethical issues. Most modules contain a case study in which students present and defend a given position related to a topic of current interest. A class project involving the analysis of household dust by X-ray fluorescence out the curriculum. 


S. Fox, R. T. Stibrany, J. A. Potenza and H. J. Schugar, A Mixed-Valence Trinickel Complex Containing Nickel(I), Nickel(II) and Iodonium Moieties, Inorganica Chimica Acta, 316, 122-126 (2001).

J. Krenos and J. Potenza, Study Guide for Atkins and Jones's Chemical Principles: The Quest for Insight, Second Edition, New York, 476 pgs, (2001).

J. A. Potenza, T. J. Emge, J. Albaneze, S. Knapp and H. J. Schugar, A Spiro-linked Pyrene-Naphthoquinone, Acta Crystallographica C56, 1494-1495 (2000).

S. Fox, R. T. Stibrany, J. A. Potenza, S. Knapp and H. J. Schugar, Copper(II) and Nickel(II) Complexes of Binucleating Macrocyclic Bis(disulfide)tetramine Ligands. Inorganic Chemistry,39, 4950-4961 (2000).

Knapp, B. Huang, T. J. Emge, S. Sheng, K. Krogh-Jespersen, J. A. Potenza and H. J. Schugar, A Pyropheophorbide Dimer with Single Pyrrole p Overlap and a Low Energy Q Absorption. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 121, 7977-7978(1999). 

Research Area(s): 
Physical Chemistry