Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
218 Seitz Materials Research Lab
1 (217) 333-2589
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Professor Cooper received his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Virginia in 1982, and his Ph.D in physics from the University of Illinois. After a postdoctoral appointment at Bell Labs, Professor Cooper joined the faculty here in 1990. Since 1983, he has been a Member of the Defense Science Study Group, which provides analysis for DOD and DOE through the Institute for Defense Analysis.
Professor Cooper has developed pioneering techniques in the use of optical spectroscopy to reveal the structure and behavior of matter, including the locations, currents, and modes of excitation of the charged particles (electrons and nuclei) within bulk samples. His group has developed particular expertise in light-scattering experiments on samples under extreme conditions of temperature, pressure, and magnetic field. His definitive Raman and Brillouin spectroscopy experiments have shed light on some of the most exciting and important themes in contemporary research on the physics of systems comprising many strongly interacting particles, including quantum phase transitions.
Professor Cooper's first accomplishment with his “extreme conditions” facility was a study of the evolution of the crystal lattice dynamics and magnetism through the pressure-tuned destruction of the insulating state of layered ruthenate materials. In his most recent work, he has focused on Mott insulators and shown that high pressures can destroy their insulating character and create magnetism.