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Faculty & Staff


Leah O'Brien

Professor, Physical Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
College of Arts and Sciences
SL 2322 (Office)
Edwardsville, Illinois 62026-1652.
Tel: (618) 650-3562 (Office)
Fax: (618) 650-3556
E-mail: lobrien@siue.edu

Personal Page


  • B.A. cum laude in Chemistry with Departmental Distinction, St. Olaf College, May 1983. Undergraduate research project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, "High Temperature Synthesis and Laser Raman Characterization of Mixed Sodium-Lanthanide Phosphates." Research supervisor, Dr. Carlos E. Bamberger.

  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Arizona, December 1987. Specialization in Physical Chemistry and Molecular Spectroscopy. Research supervisor, Professor Peter F. Bernath. Thesis title, "Laser and Fourier Transform Spectroscopy of Gas Phase Molecules."

  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 1/88 - 10/88: under Professor Peter F. Bernath, Department of Chemistry, University of Arizona.

  • Post-Doctoral Staff Fellow, 6/89 - 8/90: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Division of Drug Analysis.

  • Initial Academic Appointment: Spring 1990 Department of Chemistry, SIUE.

Research Interest:

Recent research activities have focused on the high-resolution spectroscopy of small gas phase molecules, with particular emphasis on metal-containing radicals, such as AuO, PtF, NiH. Our experiments are based on intracavity laser absorption spectroscopy, performed in collaboration with Prof. James J. O'Brien at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. We have special interest in recording rotationally-resolved molecular electronic transitions, which can provide many fundamental molecular constants for diatomic metal-hydride, metal-oxide and metal-nitride molecules. The significance of the research is based on the interpretation of the obtained molecular constants, especially as they relate to chemical bonding and molecular reactivities.

Teaching Interest:

My teaching assignments usually include Physical Chemistry (Chem 361a/b), Physical Chemistry Laboratory (Chem 365a/b), and Advanced Physical Chemistry (Chem 561). Course materials can generally be found on SIUE's Blackboard webpages.

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