Jeffrey T. Petty Faculty and Staff Chemistry Furman University

Dr. Jeffrey Petty is interested in the interface of physical chemistry, biochemistry, and inorganic chemistry. He trained with Brad Moore in the spectroscopy of atmospherically significant free radicals. He then continued his studies with Dick Keller in the area of ultrasensitive, laser-based biomolecular detection. Dr. Petty continues his studies with his students and colleagues in the area of silver cluster-DNA interactions. ​​​​

Name Title Description


Seminar in Chemistry

Seminars presented based on current literature. Presentations include articles detailing the application of chemical principles and techniques to the natural environment. Surveys of assigned journals are presented individually; more detailed presentations are made by small groups working as teams. Topics include: coverage of recent important developments, global awareness of the application of chemistry to the natural world, experience in making scientific presentations, and encouragement of good literature reading habits.


Foundations of Chemistry

Introduction to the principles of chemistry. Topics include: atomic and molecular structure and chemical bonding, stoichiometry, properties of the states of matter, and energetics of chemical reactions with emphasis on problem solving, conceptual understanding, and analytical reasoning. Laboratory focuses on quantitative measurements and interpretation of data.


Kntcs, Thrmodynmcs, & Environ

Kinetic and thermodynamic principles of chemical reactions including the laws of thermodynamicss, acid-base chemistry, solubility, electrochemistry and colligative properties applied in an environmental context. Nuclear chemistry including radioactive decay, nuclear power, and the energetics of nuclear reactions.


Technical Writing in Chemistry

An introduction to the fundamental aspects of scientific writing. Additional topics include literature resources, data presentation, and individualized instruction on project specific written presentations.


Physical Chemistry II

The thermodynamics and statistical mechanical aspects of physical chemistry. Laboratory connsists of physical measurements and spectroscopic characterization of matter. Working with lasers, computer interfaced instrumentation, high vacuum apparatus and other sophisticated laboratory equipment.


Advncd Tpcs in Physical Chem

Topics in physical chemistry including lasers and their applications, nanoscience, and optical spectroscopy. Topics will be connected with applications in analytical chemistry and biochemistry.


Topics in Chemistry

Topics important in various fields of modern chemistry designed as a tutorial to meet the special needs of individual students.


Graduate Seminar in Chemistry

Students present seminars based on current literature. Surveys of assigned journals are presented individually; more detailed presentations are made by small groups.



Original laboratory research



Master's thesis

Our studies revolve around the small sizes of silver clusters. These molecular metals have discrete electronic states, localized optical transitions, and strong fluorescence. DNA strands serve two purposes: (1) Their nucleobases coordinate specific species, and specific sequences yield chromophores with spectra that span the visible and near-infrared spectral regions; (2) They direct cluster transformations via changes in their secondary structure. Our studies revolve around pairs of chromophores that interconvert via hybridization. These conjugate cluster-DNA chromophores are innovative because of two features – hybridization switches on fluorescence and two-color laser excitation enhances the overall cluster emission. Mass spectrometry and X-ray absorption spectroscopy establish the basis for the fluorescence switching. Changes in the stoichiometry, charge, and structure of pairs of dim/bright chromophores are investigated. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy evaluates the basis for the two-color enhanced fluorescence. These two sets of studies will provide the foundation to develop a new class of optical sensors. These sensors will be used to detect low abundance microRNA sequences that are relevant for early cancer intervention.

Petty research, figure 1

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
B.S., Furman University

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