Peter Abbamonte

Peter Abbamonte
Peter Abbamonte

Primary Research Area

  • Condensed Matter Physics
Fox Family Professor in Engineering
(217) 244-4861
104 Materials Research Lab

For more information


Peter Abbamonte received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1999, having done his research with Eric Isaacs and Phil Platzman in the then thriving Materials Physics Department at Bell Laboratories. He then went to the University of Groningen in The Netherlands on an International Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation to work with George Sawatzky, and returned to the U.S. as a postdoc in biophysics in Sol Gruner’s group at Cornell University, where he studied photosynthesis in rhodobacter sphaeroides. He joined the scientific staff at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 2003, and was recruited to the University of Illinois in 2005, where he is currently the Fox Family Professor of Engineering in the Department of Physics and an affiliate of the Seitz Materials Research Laboratory.

Professor Abbamonte is one of the originators of the technique of resonant soft x-ray scattering with which he discovered the existence of a Wigner crystal in doped, quasi-1D spin ladders, and showed that stripes in copper-oxide superconductors are charged (among other achievements). This technique is now in use at every major synchrotron facility in the world. He is also known for his solution to the phase problem for inelastic x-ray scattering, which allows real-time imaging of electron motion in with attosecond time resolution. He has used this approach, for example, to image the formation of excitons in insulators, and to measure the effective fine structure constant of graphene.

Since 2011 Abbamonte has been focused on what he believes will be viewed as his crowning achievement: the development of a fully momentum-resolved, inelastic electron scattering (M-EELS) instrument that achieves an energy resolution of ~ 1 meV. This instrument is the only one in the world capable of studying the dynamic charge susceptibility, chi(q,omega), with full momentum resolution, and has already led to several major discoveries most notably the existence of a Bose condensate of excitons in TiSe2—widely covered in the popular press as the “discovery of excitonium” (see ).

Abbamonte is the founder of Inprentus ( ), a premium manufacturer of XUV diffraction gratings. Inprentus was founded in 2012 at EnterpriseWorks, the startup incubator in the University of Illinois Research Park, and relocated to a dedicated facility in 2017. Inprentus has received Phase II SBIR funding from the NSF as well as significant Venture Capital investment, and has delivered high-resolution diffraction gratings to clients across the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Academic Positions

  • Fox Family Professor in Engineering, 2019-present
  • Professor, Univ. of Illinois-Urbana, 2013-present

Research Statement

See group-maintained web page

Research Interests

  • electron self-organization in condensed matter, topological order; edge and interface effects in oxide devices; quantum phase transitions; collective excitations in interacting electron systems. advanced electron and x-ray spectroscopies

Selected Articles in Journals


  • Moore Foundation EPiQS Investigator, 2020-2025 (2020)
  • Fox Family Professor in Engineering (2019)
  • Moore Foundation EPiQS Investigator, 2014-2019 (2014)
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (2014)
  • University Scholar (2014)
  • Xerox Award for Faculty Research (2010)
  • Arnold O. Beckman Fellow, Center for Advanced Study (2008)

Teaching Honors

  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Spring 2021 (Spring 2021)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Spring 2020 (Spring 2020)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Fall 2018 (Fall 2018)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Spring 2017 (Spring 2017)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Spring 2016 (Spring 2016)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Spring 2012 (Spring 2012)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Spring 2011 (Spring 2011)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Fall 2010 (Fall 2010)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Spring 2010 (Spring 2010)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Spring 2009 (Spring 2009)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, Spring 2007 (Spring 2007)

Research Honors

  • NSF Intl. Research Fellowship, 2000-2001

Recent Courses Taught

  • PHYS 402 - Light
  • PHYS 435 - Electromagnetic Fields I
  • PHYS 436 - Electromagnetic Fields II

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

Spring 2021PHYS 436
Spring 2020PHYS 436
Fall 2018PHYS 402
Spring 2017PHYS 402
Spring 2016PHYS 402
Spring 2012PHYS 435
Spring 2011PHYS 435
Fall 2010PHYS 487
Spring 2010PHYS 486
Spring 2009PHYS 486
Spring 2007PHYS 101