Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Department of Chemistry Herbert H. Hill

Hill, Herbert H.


Regents Professor

Fellow of the American Chemical Society

Fulmer 340
Pullman, WA 99164-4630

(509) 335-5648 / 5-3901


Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry, 1975
Dalhousie University


M.S. Analytical Chemistry, 1973
University of Missouri


B.S. Chemistry, 1970
Rhodes College



Dr. Hill obtained his Ph.D. degree in chemistry in 1975 from Dalhousie University of Halifax, Nova Scotia, under the direction of W.A. Aue. While at Dalhousie, he was a member of the Trace Analysis Research Centre and was awarded the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship for advanced study. Before joining the chemistry faculty at WSU in 1976, he spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of F. W. Karasek at the University of Waterloo, working on a project sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. During the 1983-84 academic year he received a 10-month fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for research at Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan. From 1985 to 1987 he served as the director of the Office of Research and Development at WSU and in 1989 received the Keene P. Dimick award in Chromatography for his work in chromatographic detection methods.

We have a wide variety of interests in the fields of analytical and environmental chemistry. The overall objectives of our research are the fundamental investigation and development of analytical methodology for the detection and identification of trace organic compounds contained in complex environmental, biochemical and industrial samples.In our group, chemical measurement is the focus of research rather than a tool for research. In the past, we have developed a variety of sensitive and selective detecteion methods for chromatography. For example, we have modified a standard flame ionization detector to be extremely sensitive and selective for metal containing compounds. This method of detection is capable of determining trace quantities of organoleads and organotins in complex environmental samples. In addition, fundamental studies of the ionization process have been conducted to identify the response ions of the detector.

A second major area of interest in our laboratory is the investigation of ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) as a tool for trace organic analysis. Our interests have been in the use of IMS as a detection method after chromatographic separation. We have been investigating the method for detection after capillary gas, supercritical fluid, and liquid chromatography. Students in our group have used this chromatography/IMS combination for the separation and detection of a wide variety of organic compounds such as polydimethylsilicone oligomers, PCBs, esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid, benzodiapinones, steroids, opiates, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, peptides, and other environmentally, biologically, and industrially important compounds. We are also using IMS coupled with mass spectrometry in a new and very high resolution instrument studying different isomers and conformations of high molecular weight compounds such as proteins.

In addition to separation and detection, sample preparation is also an area of research interest. Vapor phase derivatization of airborne pollutants and simultaneous derivatization and extraction of phenols from airborne particulate matter in liquids have been projects of interest. Supercritical fluid derivatization and extraction is also an area of research.


  • Prabha Dwivedi; Ching Wu; Herbert H, Hill, Jr., “Gas Phase Chiral Separations by Ion Mobility Spectrometry”, Analytical Chemistry (Accepted) 2006.
  • Xiaoting Tang; James E. Bruce; Herbert H. Hill, Jr., “Characterizing Electrospray Ionization Using Atmospheric Pressure Ion Mobility Spectrometry”, Analytical Chemistry (Accepted) 2006.
  • Wes. E. Steiner; Charles S. Harden; Feng Hong; Steve J. Klopsch; Herbert H. Hill, Jr.; Vincent M. McHugh, “Detection of Aqueous Phase Chemical Warfare Agent Degradation Products by Negative Mode Ion Mobility Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry [IM(tof)MS]”, Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 2006, 17, 241-245.
  • Dick Sevier; Molly Gribb; Robert Walters; Jerome Imonigie; Kevin Ryan; Abu Kanu; Herbert Hill; Feng Hong; Jake Baker; Sin Ming Loo, “An In-Situ Ion Mobility Spectrometer Sensor System for Detecting Gaseous VOCs in the Vadose Zone”, Geotechnical Special Publication (Unsaturated Soils 2006), 1(147), 225-234, 2006.
  • Brian H. Clowers; Herbert H. Hill, Jr., “Influence of cation adduction on the separation characteristics of flavonoid diglycoside isomers using dual gate-ion mobility-quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometry”, Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 2006, 41(3), 339-351.