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Jonathan Phillips

Phone: (831) 656-7916


Career Narrative
After completing a PhD (Materials Science, U. Wisconsin-Madison) and a post doc year at the Technion (Haifa, Israel), JP joined the Dept of Chem E. at Penn State University. During his time at Penn State (1981-1999) Dr. Phillips was the advisor to ten successful PhD candidates and seventeen successful MS candidates. The unifying theme of the research was materials of interest to chemical engineers, including catalysts, carbons, coal, and metals. The group made contributions to the understanding of catalytic etching, bimetallic catalyst particle structure, unique catalytic chemistry of bimetallic catalysts, coal catalysis/gasification, adsorption kinetics, carbon surface chemistry, hydrogen spillover, lithium ‘combustion’, plasma interactions with materials, modification of aerosol particle structure and chemistry in plasmas, transport in plasmas, even the chemistry and structure of lubricants. The group contributed to the development of some analytical techniques including microcalorimetry, high temperature calorimetry, and Mossbauer spectroscopy. One lasting impact from this work was the invention of the Aerosol-Through-Plasma method to make catalysts. In 2009 Volvo Tech Transfer publicly expressed the belief that Dr. Phillips first patent, a means of creating supported metal catalysts using the A-T-P method, is ‘poised’ to ‘revolutionise’ the catalyst industry. Dr. Phillips was awarded support for two sabbaticals abroad during this time; one year as a Poste Rouge to be a staff scientist at a CNRS facility in Lyon, France (1990-91) and a Fulbright Fellowship to work as a faculty member at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, Israel (1997-98).
JP left PSU as a Full Prof. to take a staff position at Los Alamos National Lab (1999-2010) and as a National Lab Professor at the University of New Mexico. During that time he was the advisor to nine postdoctoral fellows. A major focus of the work was plasma/materials interactions. One result: patents for making a variety of structures using plasmas including carbon nanotubes, nanometal and nanooxide particles and ‘engineered’ multi-layer nanoparticles for use in batteries. Another major focus was developing a mechanistic model of the growth of carbon structures in combustion environments. Scientifically this led to the development of a theory that the building blocks of solid carbon growth in combustion environments are homogeneously created radicals. Technologies that resulted include novel carbon fiber foams of controlled shape and microstructure. Other thrusts at LANL included studies of the corrosion of lithium, development of novel nuclear fuel structures, and fundamental plasma studies.
In April of 2011 Dr. Phillips accepted his current position as Research Professor at the Naval Post-Graduate School (NPS). In that position Dr. Phillips teaches courses, primarily thermodynamics, materials and energy storage. He works chiefly in two areas, development of novel synthesis of materials on the nano-scale and the development of a novel paradigm of dielectric materials. Work in the first area resulted in publications/patents for making sub-micron metal particles from metal nitrates, metal oxides and metal hydroxides, and graphene. Preliminary studies suggest the method can be employed to make paradigm shifting supported metal catalysts. Work in the second area has resulted in unique high dielectric constant material with dielectric constants more than six orders of magnitude greater than the present ‘best’ material, barium titanate, and demonstrated energy densities for capacitors greater than 600 J/cm3, greater than any ever produced! Dr. Phillips has mentored fourteen MS students, nine completed, five in progress, since joining NPS.
Dr. Phillips has published more than 150 widely cited (>3800 citations, h factor 30, source:GoogleScholar: reviewed journal articles. He holds twenty six issued patents, seven now licensed, most of which involve novel materials or processes for making materials using a process he named Aerosol-Through-Plasma (A-T-P). He has more than ten pending patents. From 2010-2013 Dr. Phillips held more licensed patents than any other LANL employee. Recognitions include a Fulbright Fellowship for study in Israel 1997-1998, Poste-Rouge support for a year at a CNRS research institute in France in 1991. He headed a team that was awarded an R&D 100 award in 2004 for the invention “Plasma Torch Production of Spherical Boron Nitride” and headed another team that was awarded a Nano 50 award in 2005 for the invention “Graphitic Structures by Design.” He has worked as a ‘special editions’ editor for journals on topics including calorimetry, carbon fibers and nanostructures, and is on the editorial board of the journals ‘Materials’ and ‘Fibers’.
Other Experience
  • 1999 - 2010 Distinguished National Lab Professor, University of New Mexico
  • 1999 - 2010 Staff Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
  • 1997 - 1998 Fulbright Research Fellowship, Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel
  • 1996 - 1999 Professor of Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 1995 - 1995 Visiting Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM
  • 1990 - 1991 Visiting Scientist (Poste Rouge), Centre National Research Scientifique, Institut de Recherches sur la Catalyse, Villeurbanne, FRANCE
  • 1988 - 1996 Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 1982 - 1988 Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 1981 - 1982 Post-Doctoral Position, Department of Chemical Engineering, Technion, Haifa, Israel
Research Interests
Presently Prof. Phillips focuses on four areas of Materials research. I) Developing a class of materials he invented/discovered called superdielectric materials. II) Developing new techniques for the inexpensive generation of metal and metal alloy sub-micron sized particles. III) Developing new metal-on-metal (e.g. Cr on Fe) coating technologies. IV) Developing materials for Na-ion batteries.
Teaching Interests


  • 2005 - Nano 50 Award
  • 2004 - R&D 100 Award
  • 1997 - Fulbright Fellow, Israel
  • 1990 - Poste-Rouge (France)

Boards, Memberships, & Certifications

Professional Memberships
  • Reviewer, Applied Physics Letters
  • Reviewer, Carbon
  • Reviewer, Journal of Applied Catalysis, Catalysis Today
  • Reviewer, Journal of Physical Chemistry
  • Reviewer, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
  • Reviewer, Physics Essays
  • Reviewer, Review of Scientific Instruments
  • Reviewer, Wessex Institute

Scholarly Work

  • Exhibit
  • Phillips, J., Defense Teleconnect and Expo, "Novel Paradigm Supercapacitors," DoD, Narional Harbor Conference Center, MD, United States. (October 9, 2019).
  • Oral Presentation
  • Phillips, J. (Author), & Daniels, Z. (Author & Presenter), Annual Solid Free Form Fabrication Conference, "Reduction Expansion Synthesis: Sintered Metal," Hotel. (September 17, 2019).
  • Phillips, J. (Author), & Roman, A. (Author & Presenter), Fall Undersea Warfare Conference, "Novel Dielectric Materials," US Navy, Naval Base, Groton CT, CT, United States. (September 17, 2019).