Troy K. Townsend

Associate Professor of Chemistry

On Sabbatical 08/01/2023 - 08/01/2024
Troy Townsend

SMCM Alum , Class of 2007


Dr. Townsend's research group focuses on applied nanomaterials for printed electronics and functional fluorescent metal coatings. Research students are exposed to synthesis of inorganic nanocrystals that can be made small enough to be dispersed in solvents for ink-jet printing. By layering nanomaterials, electronic devices such as photovoltaics and LEDs can be fabricated and tested and characterized.

Additionally, his group investigates electrochemical deposition of metal composite films with unique properties. By incorporating foreign particles into a metal film, the materials properties such as hardness, durability, fluorescence, can be tuned. Students working on electrochemistry projects are exposed to electrochemistry, metal plating and redox reactions.

Dr. Townsend completed a PhD at the University of California, Davis where he worked on photocatalytic water splitting with nanomaterials while supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Following this, he completed a National Research Council Post-doctoral fellowship at the US Naval Research Laboratory where he produced and tested sprayable solar cells and modules. Dr. Townsend has publications in high-impact journals and holds three US patents and one patent application through the US Navy. 

Areas of Research Specialization

  • Nanomaterials
  • Photovoltaics
  • Ink-Jet Printing Electronic Devices
  • Functional Inorganic Fluorescent Coatings
  • Anti-corrosion Nanocoatings

Areas of Teaching Specialization

  • Inorganic Chemistry Lecture and Laboratory
  • Organic Chemistry Laboratory I and II
  • General Chemistry I and II Lecture and Laboratory
  • Introduction to Materials Science
  • Contemporary Chemistry with Environmental Focus
  • Nanoscience


  • B.A. in Biology and Chemistry at St. Mary's College of Maryland, 2007
  • Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at University of California, Davis, 2012
  • in Post Doctoral Fellowship in Materials Science at U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, 2014


  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship 2010
  • National Research Council Fellowship 2012
  • Office of Naval Research Summer Faculty Research Fellowship 2016, 2018, 2021


  • Townsend Published in Journal of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics

    Troy Townsend, assistant professor of chemistry, published an article entitled, "Fully Solution Processed All Inorganic Solar Cells" in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. These are the first fully-solution processed all inorganic solar cells, and were constructed on non-conductive glass showing ~2% efficiency under 1 sun illumination. Whereas conventional photovoltaic devices are constructed under controlled atmospheres and low pressures, these all-solution devices can be built in an average home kitchen. Each layer including the metal contacts are solution processable and can be spin- or spray- coated onto new and imaginative surfaces. This concept has the potential to revolutionize the field of light detectors, transistors, LEDs and batteries by enabling high-throughput assemblies and deposition onto irregular surfaces.

    Fully Solution Processed All Inorganic Solar Cells
  • Townsend Published in Journal of Materials Chemistry A

    Troy Townsend, assistant professor of chemistry, published an article entitled, "Safer salts for CdTe nanocrystal solution processed solar cells: the dual roles of ligand exchange and grain growth." in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A. In this article, Townsend demonstrates that solution deposited nanocrystals can be processed with ammonium chloride, which is a non-toxic alternative to the cadmium chloride standard. In addition, the experiments uncover the mechanisms behind the salt treatment to show that they favor an low melting intermediate of cadmium telluride to produce higher efficiency devices. 

    Safer salts for CdTe nanocrystal solution processed solar cells
  • Townsend Published in Journal of Visualized Experiments

    Troy Townsend, assistant professor of chemistry, published an article entitled, "Fabrication of Fully Solution Processed Inorganic Nanocrystal Photovoltaic Devices" in the Journal of Visualized Experiments. In this article, Townsend and JoVE editors use video footage of the actual experiments to demonstrate the precise methods  involved with nanocrystal synthesis, thin film preparation and device characterization. By using video, the ambiguity of the text is removed and these complex experiments are more easily reproduced by other scientists and engineers. 

    Fabrication of Fully Solution Processed Inorganic Nanocrystal Photovoltaic Devices
  • Townsend Presents at TEDxLeonardtown

    TEDx Leonardtown. Creating Change Locally. Printing the Future of Electronics. First TED series in Southern Maryland, Sept 9 2017. Link to talk.

    St. Mary’s College of Maryland Assistant Professor of Chemistry Troy Townsend ’07 was one of the featured speakers during the “Creating Change Locally” TEDxLeonardtown event took place on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Leonardtown High School, 23995 Point Lookout Road.

    Townsend was one of nine speakers of the Technology Entertainment Design (TED) (x for local) presentations. The one-day event featured speakers who have created change within their community or field of expertise and perform their 15-minute talk for a live audience as well as recording for the TEDx Channel. 

    Townsend’s research investigates the design, synthesis, and device applications for inorganic nanocrystals with a focus on energy and power systems. He has investigated solar fuel generation from water and sunlight using inorganic nanoscale photocatalysts and implementation of nanomaterials into photovoltaics, LEDs, and batteries.

    Dr. Townsend speaking at TEDxLeonardtown