Professor Abbamonte received his Ph.D from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1999, having done his research with the then thriving Materials Physics Department at Bell Laboratories. He then went to the University of Groningen in The Netherlands on an IRFAP fellowship from the National Science Foundation. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. as a postdoc in biophysics at Cornell University, where he studied photosynthesis in Rhodobacter sphaeroides, and joined the scientific staff at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 2003. He was recruited to the Department of Physics in August of 2005.
Professor Abbamonte is one of the originators of the technique of resonant soft x-ray scattering, which he has used, among other things, to discover a Wigner crystal in doped spin ladders, and to show that stripes in copper-oxide superconductors are charged. 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, permitting real-time imaging of electron motion in condensed matter with attosecond time resolution. He has recently used this approach, for example, to image the formation of excitons in insulators, and to measure the effective fine structure constant of graphene.
Abbamonte is the founder of Inprentus, a premium optics manufacturer based at the University of Illinois Research Park.