John Fontanella

Research Interests

Since 2004, I have been working on dielectric materials for high energy density capacitors. The goal is to increase the dielectric constant and breakdown strength and decrease the loss. A variety of materials is being investigated including nanocomposite-based systems.

From 1990 until 2004 I studied condensed matter associated with fuel cells and lithium batteries. The primary focus was ion transport and this included studies of proton- and lithium-conducting membranes and liquid electrolytes. That work had its roots in studies of ion conducting polymers which was carried out during the 1980's. Much of the work has been directed toward glass-forming materials.

The primary experimental technique has been complex impedance that has been carried out at high pressures and low temperatures. Complementary techniques include differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, thermomechanical analysis, dynamic mechanical analysis and optical and infrared absorption. Recently, a capability to carry out dielectric breakdown measurements has been developed.

During the 1970's I studied defects in alkaline earth fluorides primarily via electrical relaxation techniques. In addition, measurements were made of the dielectric properties of a wide variety of crystalline materials including alkali halides, alkaline earth fluorides, diamond, crystalline semiconductors, quartz, arsenic trisulphide, zinc selenide, bismuth germanate, lanthanum trifluoride, lead fluoride, and cadmium fluoride. In addition, some studies of fused silica and fluids and plastic crystals such as carbon tetrachloride and adamantane have been carried out.

From 1968-1970, the author did research at CWRU on the elastic properties of materials and their variation with temperature and pressure.

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