Stuart A. Solin

Distinguished Alumnus 1997

  • Ph.D. 1969, Physics, Purdue University

Dr. Stuart A. Solin has had an extraordinarily creative careers at the University of Chicago, Michigan State University, and NEC Research Institute.

Stuart received his Ph.D. at Purdue University in 1969 on the basis of his fundamental contributions to the Raman Spectroscopy of Crystals. His thesis is outstanding. He already demonstrated the unique combination of self confidence, intellectual curiosity, and superb experimental skills essential for a novel, experimental research program; by using lasers in inelastic light scattering, exploiting the phase-sensitive and photon counting detection techniques, and employing cryogenic techniques for low temperature Raman scattering of crystals. His paper on the Raman spectrum of diamond is a standard reference on diamond, a crystal of fundamental importance in condensed matter physics, in particular lattice dynamics. He was recognized as a promising scientist of his generation and appointed an Assistant Professor at the Department of Physics and the James Franck Institute, University of Chicago, immediately after his Ph.D., thus bypassing the usual "apprenticeship" as a Postdoctoral Fellow.

Stuart's tenure at the University of Chicago is a success story. He received the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship given to young faculty of clearly demonstrated excellence. He made significant contributions to the electronic states of donor-bound electrons and acceptor-bound holes in germanium; a "home-built" laser for the near infrared and uniaxial stress apparatus enabled him to perform challenging Raman experiments and make an important contribution to the understanding of the ground states of impurities in semiconductors and their behavior under external perturbation. The Raman spectra of Wurtzite Si; amorphous SiC; vitreous selenium; vitreous As2S3... this list illustrates the impressive scope of his program in which deep insights were gained in the structure and lattice dynamics of novel materials.. He successfully tackled fascinating phenomena such as normal and oblique phonons in RbClO3; Raman scattering from tunable hot phonons and polaritons; and uniaxial stress as a perturbation in Raman spectroscopy. A study of graphite by Raman scattering evolved into a full fledged program in intercalated graphite; he established himself as an international authority in this important class of materials. He became Associate Professor with tenure at the University of Chicago in 1974.

In 1979, Stuart joined Michigan State University as Professor of Physics and initiated and established a laboratory devoted to the study of materials using a wide variety of analytical techniques. Electron energy loss; infrared and Raman spectroscopy; x-rays; neutron spectroscopy; NMR, ... all of these tools were employed effectively in the study of diverse materials: graphite intercalation compounds; polysilanes; metal-ammonia solution; clays and clay intercalation compounds ..., this partial list conveys the picture of an energetic scientist accepting challenging and interesting problems in condensed matter, and with an appropriate selection of the experimental tools, discovering and interpreting new behavior.

In 1989, Stuart made a major career change by joining an industrial R & D laboratory, the NEC Research Institute, as a Fellow. While maintaining a strong presence in the science of graphite, metal-ammonia system and clays, Stuart has successfully entered the field of semiconductor superlattices and addressed problems of contemporary interest.

Stuart's twenty years in academia are characterized by a vigorous and imaginative leadership in research. He has been the mentor of fifteen Ph.D.s and fourteen Postdoctoral Fellows. He established major facilities in Raman spectroscopy, x-rays, electron microscopy and other analytical techniques. He provided significant service to the University of Chicago and the Michigan State University by accepting important administrative responsibilities, e.g., as Associate Director of the NSF Materials Research Laboratory at the former institution and as Director of the MSU Center for Fundamental Materials Research at the latter. As examples of his versatility and enjoyment of scientific/technical challenges we cite his co-ownership of SASSAR Laser Group, manufacturer of opthalmic laser systems and his strong interest in biological applications of Raman spectroscopy ("Polarized Raman spectroscopy study of normal and cataractous intact bovine lenses").

Excerpted from the nomination letter by Professors S. Rodriguez and A. K. Ramdas, November 5, 1996

Career Highlights

  • 1974 became Associate Professor with tenure at the University of Chicago
  • 1979 joined Michigan State University as Professor of Physics and initiated and established a laboratory devoted to the study of materials using a wide variety of analytical techniques
  • 1989 joined the NEC Research Institute, as a Fellow
Last Updated: Apr 29, 2016 3:40 PM