Formal headshot of Kent Ervin

Kent M. Ervin

Clemons-Magee Endowed Professor in Chemistry, Emeritus


Research Interests

Tandem mass spectrometry techniques are used to study chemical systems relevant to combustion kinetics, astrophysical and atmospheric chemistry, and the dissociation dynamics of molecular ions. Two custom-built tandem mass spectrometers have been developed for these studies: a guided ion beam tandem mass spectrometer with a magnetic sector initial mass spectrometer and a linear quadrupole final mass spectrometer, and an apparatus with a 3D quadrupole ion trap with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer for detection. Gas-phase ion-molecule reactions are investigated as a function of collision energy. Proton transfer and hydrogen atom transfer reactions of organic molecules are used to investigate thermochemical properties of hydrocarbon radicals important in combustion kinetics and environmental chemistry. Reaction threshold energies measured with the guided ion beam mass spectrometer can be related to the R-H bond dissociation energies. Competitive threshold collision-induced dissociation of proton-bound complex ions is used to measure relative gas-phase acidities and proton affinities.

About the Susan Magee and Gary Clemons Professorship

Mackay School of Mines graduate Gary Clemons '81 (earth science) and his wife, Susan Magee Clemons, established two endowed professorships in chemistry and physics to recognize professors who spark students' curiosity and creativity and motivate them to pursue careers in the fields of chemistry and physics. Established: 2012. (College of Science)


  • Postdoctoral (1986-1990), JILA, University of Colorado (W. C. Lineberger)
  • Ph.D. (1986), University of California, Berkeley (P. B. Armentrout)
  • B.S., B.A. (1981), University of Kansas; Ph.D. (1986)