Jonathan E Spanier received BA degrees in physics and music from Drew University in Madison NJ, and the PhD with Distinction from Columbia University in 2001 in applied physics (condensed matter) with Professor Irving P Herman. He completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in physical chemistry at Harvard University with Professor Hongkun Park prior to joining the Drexel faculty in 2003. He is presently Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and Associate Dean in the College of Engineering, and he holds affiliated faculty appointments in the Department of Physics and in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. Since 2011 he is Director of the University’s Centralized Research Facilities. He served as associate dean for the College of Engineering, leading development of the College’s 2013-18 Strategic Plan. He also served as Interim Associate Department Head for MSE from 2006-08 and as the University Provost Fellow in 2009. Prior to completing the PhD, Professor Spanier held research and technical staff positions at the US Naval Research Laboratory in physical acoustics and in the semiconductor device industry, and he was a visiting lecturer at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in 2001.
Professor Spanier investigates the structure, chemistry, and physical, electronic and dielectric properties of emergent solid state electronic materials. In particular, he focuses on polar oxides and other perovskites for efficient and low-cost photovoltaic solar energy conversion. He is a co-inventor of the first semiconducting absorber that possesses a compositionally-tunable band gap spanning the visible spectrum and is simultaneously polar for promoting carrier separation without a junction. Spanier and his group also study epitaxialization of high-quality oxide perovskite films formed from amorphous layers produced by atomic layer deposition.
Professor Spanier received the US Army Research Office (ARO) Young Investigator Award in 2004, the Nano-Bio Interface Innovation Award in 2005, the Outstanding Research Award in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at Drexel for 2007, and the 2014 College of Engineering Excellence in Research Award for his discovery of new sustainable energy generation materials for light harvesting technologies. In 2007, Professor Spanier was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for 2006 at the White House. He was an Office of Naval Research Summer Faculty Fellow in 2010, and received the Distinguished Service Award from the Louis R Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in 2013, and he was named a Louis and Bessie Stein Family Fellow in 2013. In 2014 he was awarded a Japan Trust International Research Cooperation Fellowship from the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology to work as a visiting scientist at Fujitsu Laboratories, Ltd. Professor Spanier participated by invitation in the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering at UC Riverside in 2014. In 2016 Spanier was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, Division of Materials Physics.
Professor Spanier directs the GAANN for Renewable Energy Technology and Infrastructure Networks (RETAIN) and for Engineers as Global Leaders in Energy Sustainability (EAGLES) at Drexel, US Dept. of Education-supported projects. His research is currently supported by the NSF, the Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the Office of Naval Research, the Nanoscale Research Initiative of the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), and industry.