Dr. Samuel A. Abrash
Associate Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Abrash's research is in Chemical Dynamics, the field of chemistry which attempts to understand how chemical reactions work. The specific area on which this research is currently focussed is to ask the related questions of how the proximity of reactants when a reaction begins affects the course of a reaction and how restricting the initial geometry of the reactants affects the course of a reaction. To probe these questions we use an ultra-low temperature technique called matrix isolation, coupled with photolysis with various sources, including lasers, and infrared spectroscopy. The matrix isolation allows formation of stable weakly bound complexes whose geometries are determined by weak forces between the constituent molecules called hydrogen bonds. The photolysis uses light to initiate the reactions and the infrared spectroscopy allows determination of the product distribution and growth kinetics. A particularly exciting new twist to the research is to use linearly polarized light for both photolysis and spectroscopy. This allows us to probe the orientation of the reacting molecules before and after reaction, giving us more intimate information about the microscopic processes which occur during a chemical reaction.


Cailin Delaney, Stephanie Smith, Philip Eskew, Cindy Silvester, Leigh Jason, and Samuel A. Abrash, "Photochemistry of HI-Allene Complexes in Argon Matrices", Poster Presented, Gordon Conference on Physics and Chemistry of Weakly Bound Complexes, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine, July 20-25, 2003.

Samuel A. Abrash, "Anomalies in the Photochemistry of Weakly Bound Complexes," Invited Lecture, Department of Chemistry, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, October 18, 2002.

Samuel A. Abrash, "Things to Do and Places to G  Becoming a Professor at a PUI", Invited Lecture, Semiannual Meeting American Chemical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, August 17-22, 2002.

Samuel A. Abrash, Amy Burroughs, James E. Copenhafer, Ruth Daniels, Braden Giordano, Jannine Haberman, Charles. S. Vaughan and Kavitha Vedhanayakam, "Photochemistry of H2S-Acetylene and H2S-ethylene complexes in Argon Matrices.", Poster Presented, Gordon Research Conference on Molecular Electronic Spectroscopy and Dynamics, Salve Regina University, Newport, RI, 7/28/2002 - 8/2/2002.

Samuel A. Abrash. "So I've Got Tenure. Now What?", Workshop Organized, Bienial National Conference, Council on Undergraduate Research, New London, Connecticut, June 19-22, 2002.


R.K. Chaudhuri, K. F. Freed, S. A. Abrash, and D. M. Potts, "A critical comparison of theoretical and experimental electronic spectrum and potential energy curves of HF molecule and its positive and negative ions" J. Mol. Struct. (Theochem), 2001, 547, 83-96.

Samuel A. Abrash, "New Voices in Chemistry: Revitalizing Undergraduate Research", Chemical and Engineering News, March 26th, 2001, p. 118.

Nancy R. Forde, Laurie J. Butler and Samuel A. Abrash, "Electronic Accessibility of Dissociation Channels in an Amide:  N,N-Dimethylformamide Photodissociation at 193 nm" , J. Chem. Phys., 1999, 110, 8954.

Meredith E. Ebert, Samuel A. Abrash and Lionel M. Raff, "Theoretical Investigations of the Reaction Dynamics of Gas-Phase HBr + Acetylene Collisions." J. Phys. Chem. 1995, 99, 17691.

Paras M. Agrawal, Dan C. Sorescu, Lionel M. Raff and Samuel A. Abrash, "Theoretical Investigations of Vinyl Bromide Dissociation in Xe and Kr Matrices", J. Phys. Chem. 1995, 99, 14959

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Contact Information
(804) 289-8248
(804) 287-1897 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Physical Chemistry
Theory and Photochemistry and dynamics of oriented complexes in low temperature crystals