Department of Physics

Robert Coakley

Emeritus Professor of Physics
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Office Location

254 Science Building



Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. University of Vermont


Member of faculty since 1984;

Associate Professor of Physics;

Ohio State Univeristy. B.S.,1965;

Dartmouth College, M.A.,1968;

University of Vermont, Ph.D.,1974

Research Interests

Experimental Light Scattering Research.

One of the interesting things one can do with light is to study properties of transparent materials by examining how light scatters when passing though the materical;  for several years now, I have been performing Brillouin scattering studies of liquids. Brillouin scattering occurs when incident laser light is scattered by thermally induced fluctuations in the index of refraction. There are two components in the spectrum of the scattered light, Rayleigh peaks at the laser frequency and Brillouin peaks caused by light scattered by sound waves in the liquid. The Brillouin peaks are shifted from the laser frequency by the frequency of the sound waves. The sound frequencies involved are in the GHz range. Thus, Brillouin scattering can measure acoustic and thermodynamic properties in the GHz frequency range. Currently, I am studying the temperature dependence of the acoustic properties of simple alcohols and alcohol water mixtures.