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David Robinson

David Robinson

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)
Chemistry and Forensic Science


Dr. Robinson teaches physical chemistry at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. His research field is computational and theoretical chemistry.

Career overview

Dr. Robinson obtained a first class MChem (Hons.) degree in Chemistry from the University of Manchester in 2004. He was awarded his PhD in 2007 under the supervision of Dr. Joe McDouall from the same University, for work on development and application of multireference perturbation theory to larger molecules than was previously possible.

In 2007, Dr. Robinson started an EPSRC-funded postdoctoral position at the University of Nottingham under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan Hirst, Dr. Nick Besley and Prof. Paul O’Shea. In 2010, Dr. Robinson was a Teaching Fellow in Physical Chemistry for six months, before being awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (36 months) to study the computation of fluorescent molecular probes in lipid membrane environments. At the end of his fellowship, Dr. Robinson took up a position of Senior Fellow in Computational Chemistry, involving all aspects of teaching delivery and research supervision of PhD students. In late 2016, Dr. Robinson was appointed Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Nottingham Trent University, which he took up in January 2017.

Research areas

All research within the Robinson Group is computational. Areas of current research are:

  • Characterisation of the electronically excited states of gas-phase and condensed phase molecules, including contemporary and novel membrane probes (e.g. BODIPY). Methods used include CASSCF, CASPT2 and TDDFT. We collaborate with several groups, including N. Boens (Leuven, Belgium) and A. Orte (Granada, Spain)
  • Characterisation of polyoxometallate (POM) electronic structures. This work is in collaboration with G. Newton (Nottingham), J. D. Hirst (Nottingham) and J. J. Carbo (URV, Spain)
  • Organic reaction mechanisms

Further details can be found at the Robinson Group Website ( )

PhD vacancies

If you are interested in a self-funded PhD, we are looking for students in the following areas (please note these are not funded):

  • POMs (polyoxometallates) - an emerging field of materials with the ability to selectively catalyse specific reactions. We will employ high-level electronic structure theory to investigate novel POM structures and their reactions with molecules of interest to both materials chemistry and biological structures.
  • High-level theory applied to electronically excited states - we are interested in molecules which absorb or emit electromagnetic radiation in the UV / visible region of the spectrum for a wide variety of applications, e.g. as a molecular probe, dye-sensitised solar cells, molecular switches etc.

External activity

Dr. Robinson is currently a reviewer for the following journals:

  • Nature Chemistry
  • Journal of Physical Chemistry
  • Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation
  • Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling
  • Chemical Physics

Dr. Robinson is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Sponsors and collaborators


Recent publications from the group (a full listing can be found at: )

  • S. S. Amin, K. D. Jones, A. J. Kibler, H. A. Damian, J. M. Cameron, K. S. Butler, S. P. Argent, M. Winslow, D. Robinson, N. J. Mitchell, H. W. Lam, G. N. Newton, “Diphosphoryl-functionalized Polyoxometalates: Structurally and Electronically Tunable Hybrid Molecular Materials”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2023, in press. DOI: 10.1002/anie.202302446
  • A. Kibler, N. Tsang, M. Winslow, S. Argent, H. W. Lam, D. Robinson, G. N. Newton, “The Electronic Structure and Photoactivity of Organoarsenic Hybrid Polyoxometalates”, Inorg. Chem. 202362, 3585-3591. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.2c04249
  • A. M. Tsouri and D. Robinson, “Reactions of singlet oxygen with cholesterol: a computational study”, Mol. Phys. 2022, in press. DOI: 10.1080/00268976.2022.2139305
  • M. Winslow and D. Robinson, “Computational development of a phase-sensitive membrane raft probe”, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 202224, 8260-8268. DOI: 10.1039/D2CP00431C
  • S. S. Amin, J. M. Cameron, M. Winslow, E. S. Davies, S. P. Argent, D. Robinson and G. N. Newton, “A mixed-addenda Mo/W organofunctionalized hybrid polyoxometalate”, Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2022, e202200019. DOI: 10.1002/ejic.202200019
  • A. Al-jabiry, M. Palmer, J. Langridge, J. Bellamy-Carter, D. Robinson and Neil J. Oldham, “Combined Chemical Modification and Collision Induced Unfolding Using Native Ion Mobility-mass Spectrometry Provides Insights into Protein Gas-phase Structure”, Chem. Eur. J. 202127, 13783-13792. DOI: 10.1002/chem.202101857
  • D. Robinson, S. Alarfaji and J. D. Hirst, “Benzene, Toluene and Mono-Substituted Derivatives: Diabatic Nature of the Oscillator Strengths of S1 <- S0 Transitions”, J. Phys. Chem. A2021125, 5237–5245. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.1c01685
  • D. J. L. Golding, N. Carter, D. Robinson and A. J. Fitzpatrick, “Crystallisation-Induced Emission Enhancement in Zn(II) Schiff Base Complexes with a Tuneable Emission Colour”, Sustainability 202012, 9599. DOI: 10.3390/su12229599.
  • A. Solé-Daura, A. Rodríguez-Fortea, J. M. Poblet, D. Robinson, J. D. Hirst, J. J. Carbó, “Origin of Selectivity in Protein Hydrolysis by Zr(IV)-Containing Metal Oxides as Artificial Proteases”, ACS Catalysis 202010, 13455-13467. DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.0c02848
  • M. Winslow, W. B. Cross and D. Robinson, “Comparison of Spin-Flip TDDFT-Based Conical Intersection Approaches with XMS-CASPT2”, J. Chem. Theory Comput. 202016, 3253-3263. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.9b00917
  • R. Nouch, S. Woodward, D. Willcox, D. Robinson and W. Lewis, “Mechanistic Insight Driven Rate Enhancement of Asymmetric Copper-Catalysed 1,4-Addition of Dialkylzinc Reagents to Enones”, Organometallics 202039, 834-840. DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.0c00005
  • D. Robinson, D. J. Irvine, J. P. Robinson, E. H. Lester, S. W. Kingman and G. Dimitrakis, “Predicting the Behaviour of Near-Critical and Supercritical Alcohols at Microwave Frequencies: Validation of Molecular Dynamic Simulations as a Tool than can Substitute for Measurements under Extreme Experimental Conditions”, J. Supercritical Fluids 2019146, 165-171. DOI: 10.1016/j.supflu.2019.01.018
  • H. R. Sharpe, A. M. Geer, L. J. Taylor, B. M. Gridley, T. J. Blundell, A. J. Blake, E. S. Davies, W. Lewis, J. McMaster, D. Robinson and D. L. Kays, “Selective Reduction and Homologation of Carbon Monoxide by Organometallic Iron Complexes”, Nature Comms20189, 3757. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06242-w
  • D. Robinson, “Comparison of the Transition Dipole Moments Calculated by TDDFT with High Level Wavefunction Theory”, J. Chem. Theory Comput. 201814, 5303-5309. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.8b00335
  • E. K. Rusbridge, Y. Peng, A. K. Powell, D. Robinson and A. J. Fitzpatrick, “An Octahedral Tetrachlorido Fe(II) Complex with Aminopyrazinium Ligands from a Serendipitous Redox Synthesis Exhibiting Magnetic Exchange Through Non-Covalent 3-D Architectures”, Dalton Trans. 201847, 7644-7648. DOI: 10.1039/C8DT01401A
  • C. Ripoll, C. Cheng, E. Garcia-Fernandez, J. Li, A. Orte, H. Do, L. Jiao, D. Robinson, L. Crovetto, J. A. Gonzalez-Vera, E. M. Talavera, J. M. Alverez-Pez, N. Boens and M. J. Ruedas-Rama, “Synthesis and Spectroscopy of Benzylamine-Substituted BODIPYs for Bioimaging”, Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2018, 2561-2571. DOI: 10.1002/ejoc.201800083
  • D. J. Shaw, R. E. Hill, N. Simpson, F. S. Husseini, K. Robb, G. M. Greetham, M. Towrie, A. W. Parker, D. Robinson, J. D. Hirst, P. A. Hoskisson and N. T. Hunt, “Examining the Role of Protein Structural Dynamics in Drug Resistance in Mycobacterium Tuberculosis”, Chem. Sci. 20178, 8384-8399. DOI: 10.1039/C7SC03336B
  • D. Willcox, R. Nouch, A. Kingsbury, D. Robinson, J. V. Carey, S. Brough and S. Woodward, “Kinetic Analysis of Copper(I)/Feringa-Phosphoramidite Catalysed AlEt3 1,4-Addition to Cyclohex-2-en-1-one”, ACS Catal. 20177, 6901-6908. DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.7b02198 ACS Editor’s Choice Article
  • S. Fujimoto, J. M. Cameron, R. -J. Wei, K. Kastner, D. Robinson, V. Sans, G. N. Newton and H. Oshio, “A Simple Approach to the Visible Light Photoactivation of Molecular Metal Oxides”, Inorg. Chem. 201756, 12169–12177. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.7b01499
  • R. -J. Wei, T. Shiga, G. N. Newton, D. Robinson, S. Takeda and H. Oshio, “A Cyanide-bridged Magnetically-switchable Cage with Encapsulated Water Molecules”, Inorg. Chem. 201655, 12114-12117.  DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.6b02306
  • J. M. Cameron, S. Fujimoto, K. Kastner, R. -J. Wei, D. Robinson, V. Sans, G. N. Newton and H. Oshio, “Orbital Engineering: Photoactivation of an Organofunctionalized Polyoxotungstate”, Chem. Eur. J. 201723, 47-50. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201605021
  • F. Husseini, D. Robinson, N. T. Hunt, A. W. Parker and J. D. Hirst, “Computing Infrared Spectra of Proteins Using the Exciton Model”, J. Comput. Chem. 201738, 1362-1375. DOI: 10.1002/jcc.24674
  • C.  Hurd, N. A. Besley and D. Robinson, “A QM/MM Study of the Nature of the Entatic State in Plastocyanin”, J. Comput. Chem. 201738, 1431-1437. DOI: 10.1002/jcc.24666

See all of David Robinson's publications...