Directory: Faculty

Joel M. Harris

Joel M. Harris


Distinguished Professor

B.S., 1972, Duke University
Ph.D., 1976, Purdue University

Phone: (801) 581-3585

Office: 1304 HEB-N


Research Group

Interfacial and Bioanalytical Chemistry (IBAC)

University of Utah Advanced Microscopy Center


Activities & Awards

  • Distinguished Teaching Award in Chemistry, University of Utah, 1978
  • David P. Gardner Faculty Fellow, 1981
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 1985-1989
  • Coblentz Memorial Prize in Molecular Spectroscopy, 1986
  • University of Utah Distinguished Research Award, 1988
  • ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Award in Chemical Instrumentation, 1991
  • Pittsburgh Analytical Award, 1999
  • Editor-In-Chief, Applied Spectroscopy, 1998-2009
  • SAS New York Section Gold Medal Award, 2002
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 2004
  • ACS Award in Analytical Chemistry, 2005
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, Purdue University, 2005
  • Society for Applied Spectroscopy Fellow, 2006
  • ACS Utah Award in Chemistry, 2006
  • Robert W. Parry Teaching Award, University of Utah, 2008
  • Society for Applied Spectrscopy, Distinguished Service Award, 2009
  • American Microchemical Society A.A. Benedetti-Pichler Award, 2010
  • FACSS Conference Innovation Award, 2011
  • Coblentz Society Bomem-Michelson Award, 2012
  • Honorary Membership Award, Society of Applied Spectroscopy, 2012
  • U of U Distinguished Teaching Award, 2013

Research Interests

Our research involves the application of lasers in chemical analysis, in the spectroscopy of colloids, and in studies of liquid/solid interfaces. Many new chemical materials and processes depend on the dispersion of small particles in liquids. Probing the chemistry of colloids represents a significant challenge for chemical analysis. Due to the high specific surface area of these materials, their physical and chemical properties are dominated by structure and dynamics at their surfaces; thus, meaningful analytical measurements must be selective for the particle surface/solution interface. Transport of molecules to and from the material surface is influenced by particle aggregation and organization on nm to µm distance scales, requiring measurements that are informative of nanoscale structure. The relation-ship between colloidal materials and analytical chemistry is not confined to measurement challenges since these materials also provide unique support structures for new methods of chemical detection and analysis.

Our program addresses both the measurement challenges and new opportunities for chemical analysis using colloidal materials: 1) Time-resolved luminescence spectroscopy is used to probe molecular transport and surface reactions at the single-molecule level. 2) Vibrational spectroscopy methods, both Raman scattering and infrared absorption, are being adapted to observing interfacial reactions in colloidal dispersions and in porous solids. 3) Single-molecule detection methods are used to report distributions of particle sizes, aggregation, and chemical composition. Optical-trapping provides long residence times to observe Raman scattering from individual colloidal particles to monitor chemistry in these nanoscale structures.

A second major research effort of our group is to develop spectroscopic methods for exploring molecular structure and dynamics at interfaces between dielectric solids and liquids. These new spectroscopic and kinetic tools lead to understanding the interfacial chemistry that impacts analytical methods (chromatography, solid-phase extraction, metal-ion complexation, and optical sensors) and environmental transport and clean up (adsorption and transport kinetics). We have been developing in situ vibrational spectroscopies, both Raman and infrared, to probe the chemical structure of adsorbed and bound species at silica/solution interfaces.

We are using these tools to investigate metal-ion complexation at silica-immobilized ligands, the mechanisms and rates of binding siloxane ligands to silica surfaces, and the specific molecular interaction responsible for adsorption, solid-phase extraction, and molecular recognition at chemically-modified silica surfaces. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy at the surface is being adapted to fast relaxation kinetic measurements through the use of electric-field perturbations.

Joel Harris is a member of the Nano Institute of Utah and Utah MRSEC.

topSelected Publications

  • "Biotin-avidin Binding Kinetics Measured by Single Molecule Imaging", Joshua R. Wayment and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry 81, 336 (2009).
  • "Confocal Raman Microscopy of the Interfacial Regions of Liquid Chromatographic Stationary-Phase Materials", Jennifer L. Gasser-Ramirez, and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry 81, 2869 (2009).
  • "Single-Molecule Fluorescence Imaging of Peptide Binding to Supported Lipid Bilayers", Christopher B. Fox, Joshua R. Wayment, Grant A. Myers, Scott K. Endicott and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry (accelerated article), 81, 5130 (2009).
  • "Self-Assembly of a Triangle-Shaped, Hexaplatinum-Incorporated, Supramolecular Amphiphile in Solution and at Interfaces", Umamageswaran Maran, David Britt, Christopher B. Fox, Joel M. Harris, Anita M. Orendt, Hiram Conley, Robert Davis, Vladimir Hlady, and Peter J. Stang, Chemistry - a European Journal, 15, 8566 (2009).
  • "Confocal Raman Microscopy Investigation of the Wetting of Reversed-Phase Liquid Chromatographic Stationary-Phase Particles", Jennifer Gasser-Ramirez and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 81, 7632 (2009).
  • "Confocal Raman Microscopy for Simultaneous Monitoring of Partitioning and Disordering of Tricyclic Antidepressants in Phospholipid Vesicle Membranes", Christopher B. Fox and Joel M. Harris, Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, 41, 498 (2010).
  • "Identification of Single Fluorescent Labels Using Spectroscopic Microscopy", Emily C. Heider, Moussa Barhoum, Eric M. Peterson, Jonathan Schaeffer, and Joel M. Harris, Applied Spectroscopy, 64, 37 (2010).
  • "Quantitative Detection of Single Molecules in Fluorescence Microscopy Images", Eric C. Peterson and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 82, 189 (2010).
  • "Confocal Raman Microscopy Study of Ion-Interaction Retention at Reversed-Phase Chromatographic Interfaces", Jennifer Gasser-Ramirez and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 82, 5749 (2010).
  • "Confocal Raman Microscopy of Optical-Trapped Particles in Liquids", Daniel P. Cherney and Joel M. Harris, Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry, 3, 277 (2010).
  • "Stable, Dispersible SERS Substrate Capable of Detecting Molecules Bound to Silica-Immobilized Ligands", Pete E. Poston and Joel M. Harris, Applied Spectroscopy, 64, 1238 (2010).
  • "Trajectory Analysis of Single Molecules Exhibiting non-Brownian Motion", Lindsay C.C. Elliott, Moussa Barhoum, Joel M. Harris, and Paul W. Bohn, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 13, 4326 (2011).
  • "Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Investigation of the Potential-Dependent Acid-Base Chemistry of Silver-Immobilized 2-Mercaptobenzoic Acid", Chaoxiong Ma and Joel M. Harris, Langmuir, 27, 3527 (2011).
  • "Fluorescence Microscopy of the Pressure-Dependent Structure of Lipid Bilayers Suspended Across Conical Nanopores", Anna Schibel, Emily Heider, Joel Harris, and Henry White, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133, 7810 (2011).
  • "Fluorescence Microscopy to Determine Distributions of Size and Lamellarity of Individual Phospholipid Vesicles", Emily C. Heider, Moussa Barhoum, Kyle Edwards, Karl-Heinz Gericke, Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 83 4909 (2011).
  • "Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy to Determine Molecular Occupancy of Phospholipid Vesicles", Emily C. Heider, Eric M. Peterson, Moussa Barhoum, Karl-Heinz Gericke, and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 83, 5128 (2011).
  • "Confocal Raman Microscopy of pH-Gradient-Based 10,000-Fold Preconcentration of Compounds within Individual, Optically Trapped Phospholipid Vesicles", Grant A. Myers and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 83, 6098 (2011).
  • "Single Molecule Tracking Studies of Lower Critical Solution Temperature Transition Behavior in Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)", Lindsay C. Elliott, Moussa Barhoum, Joel M. Harris and Paul W. Bohn, Langmuir, 27, 11037 (2011).
  • "Spectroscopic Microscopy Analysis of the Interior pH of Individual Phospholipid Vesicles," Emily C. Heider, Grant A. Myers, and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 83, 8230 (2011).
  • "Confocal Raman Microscopy for Monitoring the Membrane Polymerization and Thermochromism of Individual, Optically Trapped Diacetylenic Phospholipid Vesicles", Jonathan J. Schaefer, Christopher B. Fox, and Joel M. Harris, J. Raman. Spectroscopy, 43, 351 (2012).
  • "Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering Study of the Kinetics of Self Assembly of Carboxylate-Terminated n-Alkanethiols on Silver," Chaoxiong Ma and Joel M. Harris, Langmuir, 28, 2628 (2012).
  • "Confocal Raman Microscopy Probing of Temperature-Controlled Release from Individual, Optically-Trapped Phospholipid Vesicles," Jonathan J. Schaefer , Chaoxiong Ma , and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 84, 9505 (2012).
  • "Microscopic Rates of Peptide-Phospholipid Bilayer Interactions from Single-Molecule Residence Times," Grant A. Myers, Daniel A. Gacek, Eric M. Peterson, Christopher B. Fox,, and Joel M. Harris, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134, 19652 (2012).
  • “Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Detection of Ionic Solutes by Surfactant-Mediated Adsorption to a Hydrophobic Surface,” Chaoxiong Ma, and Joel M. Harris, Applied Spectroscopy, 67, 801 (2013).
  • “Single-Molecule Fluorescence Imaging of DNA at a Potential-Controlled Interface,” Eric M. Peterson and Joel M. Harris, Langmuir, 29, 8292 (2013).
  • “Imaging Fluorescent Nanoparticles to Probe Photo-Induced Charging of a Semiconductor-Solution Interface,” Langmuir, 29, 11941 (2013).
  • “Fluorescence Imaging of Single-Molecule Retention Trajectories in Reversed Phase Chromatographic Particles,” Justin Cooper, Eric M. Peterson, and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 85, 9363 (2013).
  • Confocal Raman Microscopy for In-Situ Detection of Solid-Phase Extraction of Pyrene into Single C18-Silica Particles," Jay P. Kitt and Joel M. Harris, Analytical Chemistry, 86, in press (2014); DOI: 10.1021/ac403514r.