Position Type
- Present
Organic and Materials Chemistry
B.A., Cornell University; Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin


Interested in developing new organic materials, potentially for use in molecular electronics, and specifically for use in low-cost solar cells. His research integrates organic synthesis and characterization of self-assembling liquid crystalline materials along with the actual fabrication and testing of devices.

Fields of Interest:

Research in the Reczek group spans several areas of Organic and Materials Chemistry, including Organic Synthesis, Supramolecular Chemistry, Crystal and Liquid Crystal design, and Organic Photovoltaics. We are broadly interested in the design, synthesis, and study of molecules which self-assemble, via non-covalent interactions, to exhibit new and unique properties. These properties are studies for potential application in new materials, specifically in the areas of molecular electronics and photovoltaics.

Current projects include:

  1. Synthesis and functionalization of anthracene diimides. Naphthalene and perylene diimides are two classes of electron-deficient aromatic molecules that have generated recent interest as components in Organic Materials and Molecular Electronics. The intermediate anthracene diimides show similar promise, but are relatively unexplored, largely due to difficulty in their synthesis. We are developing chemistry for the facile and versatile synthesis of anthracene diimides and related derivatives.
  2. Structure-property relationships in aromatic-aromatic charge-transfer interactions. The face-to-face association (pi-pi stacking) of certain electron-rich and electron-deficient aromatic molecules leads to formation of complexes with a new charge-transfer absorbance band. This absorbance is associated with the excitation of an electron form the HOMO of one molecule to the LUMO of the complementary molecule. We are interested in discerning how changes in the position of substituents and/or molecular orbitals of component molecules, affect the charge-transfer properties of the self-assembled complex.
  3. Aromatic donor-acceptor complexes as components of low-cost solar cells. The need to develop new photovoltaic chemistries for the efficient and affordable conversion of sunlight into electricity is a challenging problem of considerable importance. We are currently exploring the utility of aromatic donor-acceptor complexes as components of low-cost solar cells.

All research is carried out with undergraduate researchers, and a commitment to the training and development of the next generation of curious, innovative, creative thinkers and scientists. Students interested in participating in semester and summer research in the Reczek group should contact the Denison Chemistry Department or Dr. Reczek.


  • Joseph J. Reczek, Bryan Kaehr, Maddie Van Winkle, and Harper Wallace “Polarization-Based Coding/Encryption Using Organic Charge-Transfer Materials”; Awarded Patent: US 11151345 B2, ) Oct. 2021.
  • Joseph J. Reczek and Bryan Kaehr “Optically configurable charge-transfer materials and methods thereof”; Awarded Patent: US 11010651 B1, April 2021.
  • Madeline Van Winkle, Harper Wallace, Niquana Smith, Andrew T. Pomerene, Michael G. Wood, Bryan Kaehr, Joseph J. Reczek* “Orientation-Dependent Rewritable Optical Information Coding and Encryption in Tunable Organic Materials” Scientific Reports 2020, 10, 15352.
  • Molly Macinnes, Ben Cousineau, Sarah Youngs, Joseph J. Reczek,* Stephen Maldonado* “Discovery of Unusually Stable Reduced Viologen via Synergistic Folding and Encapsulation” J. Electrochem. Soc. 2019 166, H825-H834
  • Madeline Van Winkle, David A. Scrymgeour, Bryan Kaehr, and Joseph J. Reczek, “Laser rewritable dichroics through reconfigurable organic charge-transfer liquid crystals” Advanced Materials 2018, 30, 1706787. Selected for front cover of the May 17, 2018 issue.
  • Reczek, J. J., Naphthalenediimide in Modular Columnar Liquid Crystals: Key Component of Donor-Acceptor Columnar Liquid Crystals. in Naphthalenediimide and its Congeners: From Molecules to Materials., 1; Pantos, Dan., Eds; Royal Society of Chemistry: Bath, UK, 2017, 90-113.
  • Ariana Gray Bé, Cheryl Tran, Riley Sechrist, and Joseph J. Reczek, “Strongly dichroic organic films via controlled assembly of modular aromatic charge-transfer liquid crystals” Org. Lett. 2015, 17, 4834-4837.
  • Annelise C. Thompson, Haley M. Grimm, Ariana Gray Bé, Keenan J. McKnight, and Joseph J. Reczek, “Efficient bromination of naphthalene dianhydride and microwave assisted synthesis of core-brominated naphthalene diimides” Synth. Commun. 2015, 45, 1127-1136.
  • Leight, Katie R.; Esarey, Brooke E.; Murray, Alex E.; Reczek, Joseph J. “Modular and Predictable Tuning of Absorption Properties in Aromatic Donor-Acceptor Materials” Chem. Mater. 2012, 24, 3318-3328. Selected in 2016 for inclusion in a virtual issue on the state-of-the-art in Materials Genomics: http://pubs.acs.org/page/vi/materials-genomics.html
  • Alvey, Paul M.; Reczek, Joseph J.; Lynch, Vincent; Iverson, Brent L. “A Systematic Study of Thermochromic Aromatic Donor-Acceptor Materials” J. Org. Chem. 2010, 75, 7682-7690.
  • Reczek, Joseph J.; Rebolini, Elisa; Urbach, Adam R. “Solid-Phase Synthesis of Peptide-Viologen Conjugates” J. Org. Chem., 2010, 75, 2111-2114.
  • Reczek, Joseph J.; Kennedy, Aimee A.; Halbert, Brian T.; Urbach, Adam R. “Multivalent Recognition of Peptides by Modular Self-Assembled Receptors” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2009, 131, 2408-2415.
  • “Structural control of modular aromatic charge-transfer liquid crystals leads to strongly dichroic organic films” 251st ACS National Meeting & Exposition, San Diego, CA, United States, March 13-17, 2016, ORGN-646.
  • “Design, assembly, and emergent properties of columnar mixed-stack aromatic donor-acceptor liquid crystals”, Invited talk at the Energy, Materials, Nanotechnology meeting on Liquid Crystals, Orlando FL, February 16-19, 2016.
  • “Columns of a different color: molecular organic materials by modular design”, Marshall University, Huntington, WV, September 2015.
  • “Highly substituted anthracenes as self-assembly components of new donor-acceptor columnar liquid crystalline materials” 249th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Denver, CO, United States, March 22-26, 2015, ORGN-402.


Professional Memberships
  • The Council on Undergraduate Research: Councilor, Chemistry Division, 2015-2018; 2019-2021
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Materials Research Society
  • Sigma Xi - full member


Grants & Funding
  • National Science Foundation, “RUI: Developing Organic Charge-Transfer Liquid Crystals: Towards Modular Control of Functional Properties in Laser Re-Writable Organic Medium” PI: Reczek, $174,077, Funded 8/19 – 7/23.
  • National Science Foundation, “MRI: Acquisition of a scanning electron microscope with integrated EDS, WDS, and STEM for enhancement of multi-disciplinary undergraduate research and research training” Co-PI: Reczek, $398,000, Funded 9/19 - 8/21.
  • National Science Foundation, “MRI: Acquisition of a powder X-ray defractometer to enhance research at a primarialy undergraduate institution” PI: Reczek, $105,300, 8/15 – 7/16
  • National Science Foundation, “RUI: Developing Organic Photoconductive Materials through Modular Design of Self-Assembling Components” PI: Reczek $200,000, 8/12 - 7/16.
  • Petroleum Research Fund, “Aromatic donor-acceptor organocatalysis: noncovalent activation of aryl halides in green palladium cross-coupling reactions” $65,000, 1/13 - 8/16
  • Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences, The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, “Inspiring the Future: A Cooperative Approach to Increasing Regional Education, Exploration, and Opportunities with the Chemistry of Energy” $34,000, 6/11 – 6/13.
  • Lindbergh Grant, The Lindbergh Foundation, “Developing Liquid Crystal Solar Cells to Promote Clean, Efficient, and Affordable Energy” $10,580, 7/10 - 8/11.
  • Cottrell College Science Award, Research Corporation, “Development of Modular Organic Columnar Liquid Crystals as Robust Sensitizers in Low-Cost Solar Cells” $41,682, 1/10 - 12/11.