After completing his PhD, Spanier completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in physical chemistry at Harvard University with Hongkun Park prior to joining the Drexel faculty in 2003. He is presently Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and holds an affiliated appointments in the Department of Physics and in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering.
Spanier currently investigates light-matter interactions in polar materials, focusing on the bulk photovoltaic effect and properties of new polar oxides and other perovskites. 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 was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2007, 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.
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, Spanier held research and technical staff positions at the US Naval Research Laboratory in physical acoustics and in the semiconductor industry, and he was a visiting lecturer at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in 2001.