Charles J. O'Connor, Ph.D.



  • B.S., University of Illinois, Chicago, 1971
  • Ph.D., University of Illinois, Chicago, 1976


Research Specialties

  • Inorganic
  • Nanotechnology
  • Material Science

Dr. Charles J. O'Connor directs the Advanced Materials Research Institute (AMRI), a multidisciplinary materials research institute that combines the interests of academic, government and industrial scientists working on collaborative research projects. Individual projects being studied at AMRI range from the development of novel nanomaterials and nanocomposites, to thin films for use in the development of sensing devices and in biological applications. Research projects in Dr. O'Connor's laboratory are primarily in the area of nanomaterials, solid state chemistry, materials chemistry, and nanoscience, with an emphasis in the synthesis, fabrication, characterization, and investigation of properties of new materials. Current research topics include synthetic routes that lead to the nanophase design of a variety of materials with useful electric and magnetic properties. Nanocrystalline and nanocomposite materials are polycrystalline materials with grain sizes of 100 nm or less. Potential applications of nanophase magnetic materials include ultra high density magnetic recording media and smart materials. Novel synthetic techniques that produce ultra fine grained magnetic particles (e.g., synthesis of nano-ferrite particles in reverse micelles) and the subsequent deposition of these particles on surfaces and in composites will produce new materials with superior electromagnetic properties. Professor O’Connor’s research group also examines and characterizes magnetic behavior in molecular and solid state as well as nanophase inorganic materials.

Significant recent accomplishments by Professor O’Connor include development of an outreach summer research program at UNO for high-school students, high-school teachers, and underrepresented minority undergraduates; directing an effort at UNO to help develop a Ph.D. program in Advanced Materials and Nanoscience as a collaborative program between Louisiana State University, the University of New Orleans, and Southern University Baton Rouge; and securing three large federal government grants and one large state grant (DARPA, $2.05M for research on development and applications of nanosensors; DARPA, $2.3 for research on advanced materials for quantum computing; DARPA, $3.89M for research on nanostructured composite materials for thermoelectric energy conversion; and Louisiana Board of Regents Post-Katrina Support Fund Initiative, $5.0M to establish a Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology in AMRI at the University of New Orleans). During the past five years he has co-authored 95 research papers and four review articles which have been published in the peer reviewed scientific literature; has co-authored 73 abstracts for presentations at scientific and technical meetings; has obtained one U.S. patent for the fabrication of unique nanomaterials; and has secured 13 research grants from federal, state and private agencies for a total of $22.7 M in outside funding for research.


Recent Papers

K. Darling, W. Ouellette, S. Pellizzeri, T..Smith, J. Vargas, S. Tomaszfski, C.J. O'Connor, and J. Zubieta, “One- and two-dimensional coordination polymers of substituted tetrazoles with cadmium(II),” Inorg. Chim. Acta, 2012, 392, 417-427.

K. Yao, D. Caruntu, S. Wozny, R. Huang, Y.H. Ikuhara, B. Cao, C.J. O’Connor and W. Zhou, “Towards one key to one lock: catalyst modified indium oxide nanoparticle thin film sensor array for selective gas detection,” J. Mater. Chem., 2012: 22, 7308.

H. Qu, H. Ma, W. Zhou, and C.J. O'Connor, “In situ surface functionalization of magnetic nanoparticles with hydrophilic natural amino acids,” Inorg. Chim. Acta, 2012, 389: 60-65.

H. Qu, H. Ma, A. Riviere, W. Zhou, and C.J. O'Connor, “One-pot synthesis in polyamines for preparation of water-soluble magnetite nanoparticles with amine surface reactivity,” J. Mater. Chem., 2012, 22(8): 3311-3313.

H. Qu, D. Caruntu, H. Liu, and C.J. O'Connor, “Water-Dispersible Iron Oxide Magnetic Nanoparticles with Versatile Surface Functionalities,” Langmuir, 2011, 27(6), 2271-2278.