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Contact Information

Goddard Hall, 128C
Phone: +1-508-831-5394
Fax: +1-508-831-5933

Robert E. Connors

Our research centers on the spectroscopy and photophysics of organic and inorganic systems. My group is concerned with understanding the electronic and structural factors that govern the absorption of light by a molecule, the nature of the excited electronic states produced, and the rates and efficiencies of subsequent radiative and nonradiative decay processes.

An understanding of ground and excited state potential energy surfaces is sought to explain photophysical and photochemical events observed in my laboratory. High-resolution spectroscopy and molecular modeling are important tools in our studies. I enjoy teaching a wide variety of physical chemistry courses to undergraduate and graduate students. The challenge is to make this material accessible to all by cutting through the mathematics and focusing on the central principles that will be important as the students move forward in their careers as scientists.

Working in the laboratory with undergraduate and graduate students on original research projects is a special thrill for me. The things that I enjoy outside of WPI include my family, a certain gray cat, Bob Dylan and Narragansett Bay.

Research Interests

  • Physical chemistry
  • Photophysics
  • Photochemistry
  • Photobiology
  • Molecular modeling


  • BS, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1967
  • PhD, Northeastern University, 1972
  • Post-doc, Boston University, 1972-1975

Featured Publications

  • Chuchawin Changtong, Daniel W. Carney, Lan Luo, Christopher A. Zoto, John L. Lombardi, and Robert E. Connors, "A Porphyrin Molecule that Generates, Traps, Stores, and Releases Singlet Oxygen" J. Photochem. Photobiol., A: Chem., 260, 9 (2013).
  • Christopher A. Zoto and Robert E. Connors, "Photophysical Properties of an Asymmetrical 2,5-Diarylidene Cyclopentanone Dye Possessing Electron Donor and Acceptor Substituents", J. Mol. Struc. 982, 121 (2010).
  • Robert E. Connors, Mickey Lacroix and Biao Chen, “Spectroscopic and Computational Studies of Fulvenic Molecules”, J. Mol. Struc. 935, 13 (2009)
  • Mine G. Ucak-Astarlioglu and Robert E. Connors "Absorption and Fluorescence of 2,5-Diarylidene-Cyclopentanones in Acidic Media: Evidence for Excited State Proton Transfer" J. Phys. Chem. A, 109, 8275 (2005).
  • Robert E. Connors and Mine G. Ucak-Astarlioglu, "Electronic Absorption and Fluorescence Properties of 2,5-Diarylidene- Cyclopentanones" J. Phys. Chem. A. 107, 7684 (2003).
  • James A. Bautista, Robert E. Connors, B.Bangar Raju, Roger G. Hiller, Frank P. Sharples, David Gosztola, Michael R. Wasielewski, and Harry A. Frank, "Excited State Properties of Peridinin: Observation of a Solvent Dependence of the Lowest Excited Singlet State Lifetime and Spectral Behavior Unique Among Carotenoids" J. Phys. Chem. B. 1999, 103, 8751

Professional Highlights

  • 2011 Irish Education 100
  • Leonard P. Kinnicut Assistant Professor, l977-80
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
  • Sigma Xi
  • MQP Advisor Award (2011, 2010, 2009, 1984)
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