Shaping the Future of Nanomaterials

Published on Tuesday November 1, 2005

How does a nanostructure’s shape affect its properties? How can controlling these properties help us in developing new ways of storing and processing data, or in detecting and identifying pathogens?

These are some of the questions that Dr. Jonathan Spanier, assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, is working with his research group to answer. With a Ph.D. in applied physics from Columbia University and postdoctoral work at Harvard in chemistry and chemical biology, Dr. Spanier uses his interdisciplinary training to look at the properties of materials at the nanoscale.

In particular, Dr. Spanier’s group is studying how nanostructure shape and hierarchal complexity can be used to engineer tunable devices and materials with attractive properties. These nanostructured materials and scanning probe methods his group uses provide new perspectives on how finite size, shape, and hierarchy affect properties. Dr. Spanier anticipates that this work will lead to new optoelectronic devices, as well as new materials technologies for single-molecule biosensing.

As a key player in nanotechnology research at Drexel, Dr. Spanier is a Co-Director of the A. J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute. In the two years that he has been at Drexel, he has brought in more than $1.3 million in research funding as a principal investigator or co-investigator. Significant awards include an Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, an Innovation Grant Award from the NSF Nano-Bio Interface Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and a four-year $800,000 Focused Research Group grant from the NSF with Dr. Michel Barsoum, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

For more information on Dr. Spanier’s research, please visit:

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