Associate Director of The ExCITe Center, Director of Research
B.A. (Physics, Brown University, 1996)
M.S. (Physics, Brown University, 1998)
Ph.D. (Brown University, 2002)
Electro-optics; liquid crystals; polymer dispersed liquid crystals; holography; remote sensing; color filtration; electrically switchable Bragg gratings.
Dr. Fontecchio’s research involves fundamental investigations of liquid crystal interactions to develop novel devices. Using Holographically-formed Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal (H-PDLC) Bragg gratings, he has developed novel multiplexed formation techniques for reflective displays, remote sensing wavelength filtration, and a novel strain gauge. He has also investigated the materials development of polymer / liquid crystal systems for optimization of electro-optical characteristics.
In 1998 he received a NASA Rhode Island Space Grant Fellowship, and from 1999 – 2002 he was a NASA Graduate Student Research Fellow at Goddard Space Flight Center where he investigated Holographically-formed Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal technology for space-borne remote sensing applications. He traveled to Tokyo, Japan in the summer of 2000 as part of the National Science Foundation Summer Institute, where he studied polymer-stabilized liquid crystal devices at the NTT Cyberspace Laboratories. He has collaborated with researchers at the Josef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia, through an NSF funded program. At the 2000 International Liquid Crystal Conference held in Sendai, Japan, he was awarded the Best Poster Award from a field of more than 800 posters. He has also served as a Visiting Lecturer in Physics at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth campus.
Our research in the area of nanophotonics is focused on the nanoscale interaction of light with matter. This includes liquid crystal/ polymer composites for gratings, lenses and HOEs; liquid crystal interactions with surfaces and in confined nanospaces, such as carbon nanotubes; and alternative energy generation through novel photon interactions.