Principal Investigator

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Dr. Adam Fontecchio

Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs,
College of Engineering
Co-Director, A. J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute
Co-Director, The ExCITe Center

Affiliated Faculty, Dept. of Materials Engineering
Affiliated Faculty, School of Biomedical Engineering and Science


Office: University Crossings 155
Phone: +1 215 895 2047

Degrees:B.A. (Physics, Brown University, 1996)

M.S. (Physics, Brown University, 1998)
Ph.D. (Physics, Brown University, 2002)



Research:  Electro-optics; liquid crystals; polymer dispersed liquid crystals; holography; remote sensing; color filtration; electrically switchable Bragg gratings.

Bio:  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. 


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Alyssa Bellingham


Bio:  Alyssa is a Ph.D candidate in the Electrical Engineering department at Drexel University.She is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Award. She completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at Drexel University and has a Master’s degree in Materials Engineering from Politecnico Di Milano in Italy. She has worked in the Nanophotonics lab since entering Drexel in 2007 on HPDLC , hyperspectral imaging, spin-coating, and smart fabric research. She also completed her Master’s work in the Instituto de Sistemas Optoelectrónicos y Microtecnología lab at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain on characterizing a nanohole grating imprinted on an aluminum film for biosensing applications. Outside of research, she enjoys volunteering with DGWISE(Drexel graduate women in science and engineering) and at outreach events for the College of Engineering as well as playing tuba, reading, crocheting, hiking, and traveling.

Past Research: Multilayer stacking technique for holographic polymer dispersed liquid crystals (H-PDLC), H-PDLC tunable filter, spin-coating H-PDLC films, and submicron-patterned molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) films for label-free optical sensing.

Current Research: Currently Alyssa is working on smart fabric displays. 



Brandon Terranova


Bio: Brandon Terranova is a PhD student in the Department of Electrical and Computer engineering. He received his bachelors degree in Physics from the University of Delaware and his masters degree in Physics from SUNY Binghamton.  He has done theoretical and experimental work on optical interconnects and plasmonics, which has applications in non-contact label-free nanoassembly, can be used for nanomanufacturing, and may be used to improve the efficiency of solar cells. Brandon also enjoys spending time with his wife Jocelyn, playing chess, piano and travel.

Research: Brandon is interested in light-matter interactions and metal optics. Plasmonics has myriad applications from molecular sensing and trapping to nanoscopy and non-linear optics. In his PhD work, Brandon plans on utilizing plasmonics for the engineering of absorption enhancing elements in solar cells (plasmonic field engineering for nanowire control to create photonic crystal active layer geometries) to meet the technological challenges in this area.

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Jamie Kennedy


Bio:  Jamie is a current BS/PhD student in the Nanophotonics Group.  She enjoys engineering education and being awesome

Jamie is a 4th year Ph.D. electrical engineering candidate at Drexel University, where she completed her B.S. in electrical engineering. She is currently working with conductive fabrics in knitted robotics. A majority of her research has included work in electromagnetics with a concentration in magnetic nanoparticles. Other past research projects incorporated conductive inks, printed antennas, and fiber optics. She has served as a teaching assistant for two years in the undergraduate sophomore engineering labs and is passionate about teaching. She became a National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellow and is now working in high school classrooms using project-based learning to teach engineering. Improving engineering education is her goal as she intends to pursue a career in academia.

Research:  Knitbots, Technology Education

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Bin Li


Bio:   Bin is a current PhD student in the Nanophotonics Group.  He got his Bachelor and Master degree in Physical Electronics Engineering in Xi'an JiaoTong University. Bin worked two years as a electrical hardware engineer in Next Generation WDM Optical Transmission Network Department of Huawei Technology, which is the world's largest telecommunication equipment provider. Bin also worked for one year as a Ph.D. student in the Microwave Engineering Lab under the supervision of Dr. Guru Subramanyam in University of Dayton.

Research:  Haptics and tactile displays

William M. Mongan



Bio:  Bill received his undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Drexel University in 2005, the Masters of Science in Science of Instruction at the Drexel School of Education in 2008, and the Masters of Science in Computer Science in 2008. His research interests are service-oriented architectures and program comprehension through software engineering. Bill also enjoys computer science education and engineering education outreach: he has served as an NSF GK-12 Fellow for two years, holds a secondary mathematics teaching certification in Pennsylvania, has taught and volunteered with students in grades 5 through 12, and has served on school board technology and grant-writing committees. He is currently serving as Associate Teaching Professor of Computer Science in the College of Computing & Informatics, and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in the College of Engineering at Drexel University, teaching the systems track and the new architecture track courses for the Department of Computer Science, including Operating Systems, Concurrent Programming, and Systems Architecture. Bill is a recipient of the 2014 College of Computing and Informatics Award for Teaching Excellence. Outside of these pursuits, Bill is a Senior Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and an instrument-rated private pilot.

Research:  Bill's research interests are in computer science education, software architectures, service oriented architectures, and program comprehension.