Interaction with industry and other research and development laboratories nationally or internationally have been and will be an integral part of our research efforts. The nature of our research is highly interdisciplinary and we believe in team effort and individual excellence.

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The CooperLab conducts fundamental and applied renewable energy research. With a current focus on solar thermal technology, our research spans the fields of thermal science, optics, and materials to develop new pathways and devices for transforming sunlight into useful forms, including electricity, heat, clean water, and renewable fuels. Our research also touches on complementary fields including energy storage, advanced thermal insulation materials, and advanced thermal characterization techniques.

Our three main research thrust areas are: solar concentrators; solar absorber materials; and solar thermal desalination devices. Through theoretical analysis, numerical simulation, and experimentation, we aim to advance the fundamental knowledge in these areas to strive towards more efficient and cost-effective solar thermal systems. Our contributions in these areas are underpinned by specialization in nonimaging optics, optical properties measurement, heat transfer, and thermodynamics of photothermal and thermochemical processes.

Read more about our current research areas and active projects here.

Thomas Alan Cooper

Assistant Professor, Head of CooperLab


2015-2018  |  Postdoc  |  MIT  |  Mechanical Engineering

2014 |  Dr.Sc. |  ETH Zurich |  Mechanical Engineering

2010 |  M.Sc. |  ETH Zurich |  Mechanical Engineering

2008 |  B.A.Sc. |  University of Toronto |  Mechanical Engineering


Dr. Cooper joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at York University in 2018. He received his PhD and MSc from ETH Zurich in 2014 and 2010 respectively, and his BASc from the University of Toronto in 2008. His research at ETH focused on the development of novel optical concepts for concentrating photovoltaics, and new materials for solar fuel production through two-step thermochemical H2O and CO2 splitting. Prior to joining Lassonde, Dr. Cooper was a postdoc at MIT, where his research targeted the development of nanoporous materials with tailored optical and thermal properties for solar energy applications.