Phone: 406-994-6175
Fax: 406-994-4452
Barnard Hall (EPS) Room 207, MSU, Bozeman, 59717-3840, MT

Related Links:
MSU Spectrum Lab
MSU Optical Technology Center - OPTEC


Selected Honors, Awards, and Public Outreach/Service:

  • Distinguished Professor of Letters and Science
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • MSU Meritorious Technology/Science Award
  • MSU Recognition of Research, Creativity, and Contributions to Economic Development
  • Three US Patents: 6,407,831; 6,516,014; and 6,654,394

Biographical Sketch:

Laser studies of solids

  • B.S. in Physics, 1966, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • M. Phil. in Physics, 1968, Yale University
  • Ph.D. 1971 in Physics, Yale University, Werner P. Wolf, Advisor, Professor of Physics and Applied Science


Professor Cone's research group studies optical, dynamical, and magnetic properties of solids using a variety of advanced nonlinear optical spectroscopic methods, many new materials, and over twenty lasers. Recent focus areas are:

  • fundamental understanding of dynamic and static contributions to optical lineshapes and level structure in rare-earth-doped optical materials, including effects of inhomogeneity and disorder
  • design, development, and characterization of materials for practical optical signal processing and optically-addressed data storage
  • devices operating at 1.5 micron wavelength using fiber communications infrastructure like optical amplifiers, high bandwidth modulators, diode lasers, and modelocked fiber lasers, and including external cavity diode laser (ECDL) and modelocked fiber laser development
  • laser frequency stabilization using rare-earth-doped materials as frequency references
  • relationship of rare earth ion levels to host band states, impacting signal processing, laser materials, scintillators, and optical display phosphors, and 
  • compositionally-tuned solid state laser materials for resonant remote sensing and other applications.

Selected Publications:

  • Exceptionally Narrow Homogeneous Linewidth in Erbium-Doped Glasses, Y. Sun, R. L. Cone, L. Bigot, and B. Jacquier, Opt. Lett. 31, 3453-3455 (2006).
  • Spectroscopy and Dynamics of Er3+:Y2SiO5 at 1.5 microns, Thomas Böttger, C. W. Thiel, Y. Sun, and R. L. Cone, Phys. Rev. B 74, 075107 (2006).
  • Optical decoherence and spectral diffusion at 1.5 microns in Er3+:Y2SiO5 versus magnetic field, temperature, and Er3+ concentration, Thomas Böttger, C. W. Thiel, Y. Sun, and R. L. Cone, Phys. Rev. B. 73, 075101 (2006).
  • Optical Decoherence in Er3+-doped Silicate Fiber: Evidence For Coupled Spin-Elastic Tunneling Systems, R. M. Macfarlane, Y. Sun, P. B. Sellin, and R. L. Cone, Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 033602 (2006).
  • Temperature and Concentration Dependence of Optical Dephasing, Spectral Hole Lifetime, and Anisotropic Absorption in Eu3+:Y2SiO5, Flurin Könz, Y. Sun, C. W. Thiel, R. L. Cone, R. W. Equall, R. L. Hutcheson, and R. M. Macfarlane, Phys. Rev. B. 68, 085109 (2003). 
  • • Programmable Sub-kHz Laser Frequency Stabilization at 1523 nm using Persistent Spectral Hole Burning, Thomas Böttger, G. J. Pryde, and R. L. Cone, Opt. Lett. 28, 200-202 (2003). 
  • Coherent Integration of 0.5 GHz Spectral Holograms at 1536 nm using Dynamic Bi-Phase Codes, Z. Cole, T. Böttger, Krishna Mohan, R. Reibel, W. R. Babbitt, R. L. Cone, and K. D. Merkel, Appl. Phys. Lett. 81, 3525-3527 (2002). 
  • Progress in Relating Rare Earth Ion 4f and 5d Energy Levels to Host Bands in Optical Materials for Hole Burning, Quantum Information, and Phosphors, C. W. Thiel, Y. Sun, and R. L. Cone, Journal of Modern Optics 49, 2399-2411 (2002). 
  • Systematics of 4f Electron Energies Relative to Host Bands by Resonant Photoemission of Rare Earth Ions in Aluminum Garnets, C. W. Thiel, H. Cruguel, H. Wu, Y. Sun, G. J. Lapeyre, R. L. Cone, R. W. Equall, and R. M. Macfarlane, Phys. Rev. B 64, 085107 (2001). 
  • Laser Stabilization at 1536 nm Using Regenerative Spectral Hole Burning, P. B. Sellin, N. M. Strickland, T. Böttger, J. L. Carlsten, and R. L. Cone, Phys. Rev. B 63, 155111-1 – 155111-7 (2001). 
  • Symmetry Considerations Regarding Light Propagation and Light Polarization for Coherent Interactions with Ions in Crystals, Y. Sun, G. M. Wang, R. L. Cone, R. W. Equall, and M. J. M. Leask, Phys. Rev. B 62, 15443-15451 (2000). 
  • Laser Frequency Stabilization using Regenerative Spectral Hole Burning, N. M. Strickland, P. B. Sellin, Y. Sun, J. L. Carlsten, and R. L. Cone, Phys. Rev. B 62, 1473-1476 (2000). 
  • Spatial-Spectral Holographic Correlator at 1536 nm Using 30-Symbol Quadriphase- and Binary-Phase-Shift Keyed Codes, T. L. Harris, Y. Sun, W. R. Babbitt, R. L. Cone, J. A. Ritcey, and R. W. Equall, Opt. Lett. 25, 85-87 (2000). 
  • Multiphonon Relaxation in YVO4 Single Crystals, F. S. Ermeneux, C. Goutaudier, R. Moncorgé, Y. Sun, R. L. Cone, E. Zannoni, E. Cavalli, and M. Bettinelli, Phys. Rev. B 61, 3915-3921 (2000).