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Kathleen Robins

Associate Professor, Physical Chemistry
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Office: CHE 118
Phone: 702-895-4304
Fax: 702-895-4072


Quantum Mechanics, Advanced Physical Chemistry, General Chemistry, Preparatory Chemistry


My research goal is to gain a fundamental understanding of complex chemical processes by merging theoretical calculations with results obtained through experimentation. When experimental data is not readily available, the goal is for theoretical predictions to serve as the driving force for future laboratory investigations.

Theoretical Characterization of Molecular and Cluster Anions

While numerious cations and their neutral counterparts have been well studied experimentally and theoretically, most anions are not well defined. Ab initio calculations are being used to characterize both ground and excited state properties of these systems.

Calculated IR Spectra

The ability to simulate IR spectra (frequencies and intensities) with existing ab initio methods is proving to be a successful link between my research group and the Environmental Protection Agency. Of current interest is the identification of individual structural isomers for compounds that are of environmental concern.

Nonlinear Optical Properties

Research in the area of ab initio Nonlinear Optical Properties for conjugated polymers is being conducted with collaborators at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, and the University of Kuwait. The nature of this work involves testing convergence of the polarizability, and particularly the hyperpolarizability, with increasing chain length for a specific polymeric system. This work includes consideration of correlation effects, vibrational distortions and interchain interactions.

Local Quantum Chemistry

Research in the development of Local Quantum techniques is being conducted with the objective of computing large chemical systems without excessive computational demands. Projects focus on the use of the Local Space Approximation coupled with Hartree-Fock theory.


  • Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara 1991 
  • M.A., University of California, Santa Barbara 1987 
  • B.S., University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana 1985


  • Alex G. and Faye Spanos Distinguished Teaching Award, UNLV 2013
  • College of Sciences, Distinguished Teacher Award, UNLV 2011
  • College of Sciences, Distinguished Teacher Award, UNLV 2004
  • College of Sciences, Distinguished Service Award, UNLV, 2003

Selected Publications

Dong-Chan Lee, Kelly McGrath, K. K. Uy, Kathleen A. Robins, D. W. Hatchett, "Self-Assembling Asymmetric Bisphenazines with Tunable Electronic Properties," Chemistry of Materials, 20, 3688-3695 (2008). 

Kelly McGrath, Kyougmi Jang, Kathleen A. Robins, Dong-Chan Lee, “Substituent Effect on the Electronic Properties and Morphologies of Self-Assembling Bisphenazine Derivatives,” Chemistry - A European Journal, Vol 15, Issue 16, 4070-4077 (2009).

Kathleen A. Robins, Kyougmi Jang, Bin Cao & Dong-Chan Lee, “Tuning the Electronic Properties of Self-Assembling Phenazine and Bisphenazine Derivatives:  A Theoretical and Experimental Investigation,”Phys. Chem. Chem Phys., 12, 12727-12733 (2010). 

Lacie V. Brownell, Kathleen A. Robins, Ich Tran, Clemens Heske and Dong-Chan Lee, “Controlling the electron-deficiency of self-assembling pyrazine-acenes:  A Collaborative Experimental and Theoretical Investigation,”Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 15, 5967-5974 (2013).

Lacie V. Brownell, Kathleen A. Robins, Youngjun Jeong, Youngu Lee & Dong-Chan Lee, “Highly Systematic and Efficient HOMO-LUMO Energy Gap Control of Thiophene-Pyrazine-Acenes,”J. Phys. Chem. C., 117, 25236-25247 (2013).