Jonathan Spanier

Jonathan E. Spanier

Professor and Head of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Professor of Electrical Engineering and of Physics (courtesy)
Materials Science and Engineering
Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics

Jonathan E. Spanier

Professor and Head of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Professor of Electrical Engineering and of Physics (courtesy)
Materials Science and Engineering
Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics


Professor Spanier investigates the structure, physical, electronic and dielectric properties of emergent solid state electronic materials. He probes the interactions of light with matter, including Raman scattering revealing phase stability, the effects of symmetry and nanoscale phenomena on photovoltaic energy conversion, and radio-frequency microwave responses in bulk crystals and thin films, particularly complex oxides. He and his group also study solid phase epitaxy processes that enable high-quality oxide perovskite films via atomic layer deposition. Spanier joined the Drexel faculty in 2003 after a postdoctoral fellowship in physical chemistry with Professor Hongkun Park at Harvard University, and completed his PhD in the group of Professor Irving P. Herman. Since November 2018 he serves as Interim Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics. He served as Associate Dean in the College of Engineering, where he led development of the College’s 2013-18 Strategic Plan. From 2011-17 he was Director of the University’s Centralized Research Facilities. He also served as Interim Associate Department Head for MSE from 2006-08 and as a University Provost Fellow in 2009. Prior to completing the PhD, he 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 scientist at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in 2001.

Degrees / Education

  • PhD, Applied Physics, Columbia University, 2001
  • MPhil, Applied Physics, Columbia University, 1999
  • MS, Engineering, Acoustics, Catholic University of America, 1994
  • BA, Physics & Music, Drew University, 1990

Research Areas

Research Interests

Light-matter interactions, ferroelectricity, photovoltaics, condensed matter physics, electronic materials, Raman scattering spectroscopy, RF microwave response in dielectric films, thin film science & technology

Areas of Study

Academic Distinctions

  • Fellow, American Physical Society (Division of Materials Research), 2016. Cited "for outstanding contributions to advancing understanding of light-matter interactions, ferroelectric phase stability, and nanoscale phenomena in semiconductors, ferroelectrics and related oxides, interfaces and surfaces, including hot carrier behavior, Raman scattering, and photovoltaics"
  • Outstanding Research Award, Dept of Materials Science & Engineering, Drexel, 2016
  • Frontiers of Engineering, National Academy of Engineering, 2014.
  • Japan Trust International Research Cooperation Fellowship from the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, 2014
  • Outstanding Mid-Career Research Achievement, College of Engineering, 2014
  • Louis and Bessie Stein Family Fellow, 2013
  • Distinguished Service Award, Louis R Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, 2013
  • Office of Naval Research Summer Faculty Fellow, 2010
  • Outstanding Service Award, Dept of Materials Science & Engineering, 2009
  • Outstanding Research Award, Dept of Materials Science & Engineering, 2007
  • US Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2006 Cited for "innovative research in materials science and engineering [in regard to] hybrid nanostructures with specific properties and multifunctional capabilities" and "for his exceptional teaching of graduate and undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds." The PECASE is the nation's highest honor for professionals at the outset of their independent research careers.
  • US Army Research Office (ARO) Young Investigator Award, 2004

Select Publications

  • Direct observation of shift and ballistic photovoltaic currents, A. M. Burger, R. Agarwal, A. Aprelev, E. Schruba, A. Gutierrez-Perez, V. M. Fridkin and J. E. Spanier, Science Advances 5, eaau5588 (2019).
  • Resonant domain wall-enhanced tunable microwave ferroelectrics, Z. Gu, S. Pandya, A. Samanta, S. Liu, G. Xiao, C.J.G. Meyers, A.R. Damodaran, H. Barak, A. Dasgupta, S. Saremi, A. Polemi, L. Wu, A. Podpirka, A. Will-Cole, C.J. Hawley, P.K. Davies, R.A. York, I. Grinberg, L.W. Martin, and J.E. Spanier, Nature 560, 622–627 (2018).
  • Getting a charge out of hybrid perovskites, Andrew M. Rappe, Ilya Grinberg, and Jonathan E. Spanier, Proc. Nat. Acad. Soc. 114, 7191-7193 (2017).
  • BaTiO3 thin films from atomic layer deposition: a superlattice approach, M. Falmbigl, I. S. Golovina, A. V. Plokhikh, D. Imbrenda, A. Podpirka, C. J. Hawley, G. Xiao, A. Gutierrez-Perez, I. A. Karateev, A. L. Vasiliev, T. C. Parker and J. E. Spanier, J. Phys. Chem. 121, 16911-16920 (2017).
  • Mesoscopic free path of nonthermalized photogenerated carriers in a ferroelectric insulator, Z. Gu, D. Imbrenda, A. L. Bennett-Jackson, M. Falmbigl, A. Podpirka, T. C. Parker, D. Shreiber, M. P. Ivill, V. M. Fridkin, and J. E. Spanier, Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 096601, (2017).
  • Quantitative phase-change thermodynamics and metastability of perovskite-phase cesium lead iodide,” S. Dastidar, C. J. Hawley, A. DeVries Dillon, A. D. Gutierrez-Perez, J. E. Spanier, and A. T. Fafarman, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 8, 1278, (2017).
  • Structural and ferroelectric phase evolution in [KNbO3](1-x)[BaNi0.5Nb0.5O(3-δ)]x (x = 0, 0.1), C.J.Hawley, L. Wu, G. Xiao, I. Grinberg, A. M. Rappe, P.K. Davies and J. E. Spanier, Phys. Rev. B 96, 054117,(2017)
  • Power conversion efficiency exceeding the Shockley-Queisser limit in a ferroelectric insulator, J. E. Spanier, V. M. Fridkin, A. M. Rappe, A. R. Akbashev, A. Polemi, Y. Qi, Z. Gu, S. M. Young, C. J. Hawley, D. Imbrenda, G. Xiao, A. L. Bennett-Jackson, and C. L. Johnson, Nature Photon. 10, 611-616 (2016).
  • Surface chemically switchable ultraviolet luminescence from interfacial two-dimensional electron gas, M. A. Islam, D. Saldana-Greco, Z. Gu, F. Wang, E. Breckenfeld, Q. Lei, R. Xu, C. J. Hawley, X. Xi, L. W. Martin, A. M. Rappe, and J. E. Spanier, Nano Lett. 16, 681-687 (2016).
  • A Comprehensive Multiphonon Spectral Analysis in MoS2, T. Livneh and J. E. Spanier, 2D Materials 2, 035003 (2015).
  • A facile route for producing single-crystalline epitaxial perovskite oxide thin films, A. R. Akbashev, G. Chen, and J. E. Spanier Nano Lett. 14, 44-49 (2014).
  • Perovskite oxides for visible-light-absorbing ferroelectric and photovoltaic materials, I. Grinberg, D. V. West, M. Torres, G. Gou, D. M. Stein, L. Wu, G. Chen, E. M. Gallo, A. Akbashev, P. K. Davies, J. E. Spanier and A. M. Rappe Nature 503, 509–512 (2013).
  • Normal mode determination of perovskite crystal structures with octahedral rotations: theory and applications,” M. A. Islam, J. M. Rondinelli, and J. E. Spanier, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 25, 175902 (2013).
  • Tunable hot-electron transfer within a single core-shell nanowire, G. Chen, E. M. Gallo, O. D. Leaffer, T. McGuckin, P. Prete, N. Lovergine, and J. E. Spanier, Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 156802 (2011).
  • Ferroelectric Phase Transition in Individual BaTiO3 Nanowires, J. E. Spanier, A. Kolpak, I. Grinberg, J. J. Urban, L. Ouyang, W.S. Yun, A. M. Rappe, and H.Park, Nano Lett. 6 (4), 735-739 (2006).
  • Enhanced Raman scattering from individual semiconductor nanocones and nanowires, L. Cao, B. Nabet and J. E. Spanier, Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 157402 (2006).
  • Single-crystalline barium titanate nanowires: Synthesis and characterization, J. J. Urban, J. E. Spanier, L. Ouyang, W. S. Yun, and H. Park, invited review, Adv. Mater. 15, 423 (2003).
  • Size-dependent properties of CeO2-y nanoparticles as studied by Raman scattering, J. E. Spanier, R. D. Robinson, F. Zhang, S. W. Chan, and I. P. Herman, Phys. Rev. B 64, 245407 (2001).
  • Use of hybrid phenomenological and statistical effective medium theories of dielectric functions to model the infrared reflectance of porous SiC films, J. E. Spanier and I. P. Herman, Phys. Rev. B 61, 10437 (2000).

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