Natural Sciences

Physical Chemistry (2020/1)

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Module TitlePhysical Chemistry Credit Value15
Module CodeNSC2002 Module ConvenorDr Stephen Green
Duration: Term 1 2 3
No. of weeks 11
Number students taking module (anticipated) 20
Module description

Physical chemistry is the study of the physical principals underpinning the properties and behaviour of chemical systems. These systems range from individual atoms to complex molecules, at many levels of organisation and in many different environments. From a simple gas to the atmosphere of a planet, from a single molecule to a biological cell, the same principles apply. These are the thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics and chemical kinetics of physical chemistry.

In this module, you will gain a working knowledge of the principles and applications of physical chemistry that you will be able to employ across all of science.

Module aims

The aim of this module is to build on the chemistry covered in NSC1003 Foundations in Natural Sciences, with a focus on quantum chemistry and then molecular spectroscopies (in particular Infra-red and Raman) and their applications. Physical chemistry underpins many aspects of biology, medicine, materials science, environmental science and analytical science.

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES (ILOs) (see assessment section below for how ILOs will be assessed)

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

Module Specific Skills and Knowledge:

  • 1. Understand and describe the origins of the Schrödinger equation and the interpretation of the wavefunction for simple chemical systems, e.g. calculate HOMO-LUMO absorption wavelengths using the free-electron model
  • 2. Give the physical interpretation of the quantum numbers n, l and ml for the hydrogen atom, using the vector model of the atom, the radial distribution function and the boundary-surface representation of atomic orbitals
  • 3. Describe the evidence for electron spin and the origin of the spin quantum numbers s and ms
  • 4. Explain and use (Slater determinants) the orbital approximation for many-electron atoms, including the role of the exclusion principle and wavefunction symmetry
  • 5. Discuss the representation of molecular orbitals as linear combinations of atomic orbitals
  • 6. Understand and explain the difference between rotational, vibrational and electronic energy levels of molecules and how spectroscopy is the study of the allowed transitions between them
  • 7. Outline the principles of infrared, Raman and electronic spectroscopies
  • 8. Interpret IR and Raman spectra of biomedical samples

Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge:

  • 9. Demonstrate and apply a knowledge and understanding of physical chemistry
  • 10. Describe and apply essential facts and theories in the sub-discipline of chemistry
  • 11. Describe and begin to evaluate aspects of current research in chemistry and chemistry-related areas (e.g. climate change, functional materials and medicine) with reference to textbooks and other literature sources

Personal and Key Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge:

  • 12. Communicate ideas effectively and professionally by written means
  • 13. Participate effectively and professionally in discussion of scientific ideas
  • 14. Interact effectively in a group
  • 15. With some guidance, begin to develop the skills for independent study
  • 16. With some guidance, select and properly manage information drawn from books and other literature sources

SYLLABUS PLAN - summary of the structure and academic content of the module

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • The origins of the Schrodinger equation and the interpretation of the wavefunction for simple chemical systems.
  • The quantum mechanics of the hydrogen atom – atomic orbitals.
  • Electron spin and many-electron atoms.
  • Molecular orbital theory.
  • Molecular energy levels (electronic, vibrational and rotational), transitions and selection rules.
  • Experimental methods in spectroscopy.
  • Rotational spectroscopy.
  • IR absorption and Raman scattering spectroscopy.
  • Elements of electronic spectroscopy; lasers; intermolecular interactions.
LEARNING AND TEACHING
LEARNING ACTIVITIES AND TEACHING METHODS (given in hours of study time)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
381120
DETAILS OF LEARNING ACTIVITIES AND TEACHING METHODS
CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12Workshop sessions (4 x 3 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Tutorials (4 x 1 hour)
Guided Independent Study52Guided reading of scientific literature and textbook references, plus revision.
Guided Independent Study20Preparation for workshops and tutorials
Guided Independent Study40Completion of continuous assessments
ASSESSMENT
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT - for feedback and development purposes; does not count towards module grade
Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Lecturer feedback during workshops4 x 3-hour workshopsAllOral
Lecturer feedback during tutorials4 x 1-hour tutorialsAllOral
Feedback via ELE Forumad hocAllWritten
SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT (% of credit)
CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
40600
DETAILS OF SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT
Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination602 hours1-10, 12Written via tutor
Problem set 1201500 words1-10Written
Problem set 2201500 words1-10Written
0
0
0
DETAILS OF RE-ASSESSMENT (where required by referral or deferral)
Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExamination1-10, 12August Ref/Def
Problem set 1Examination1-10August Ref/Def
Problem set 2Examination1-10August Ref/Def
RE-ASSESSMENT NOTES

Deferral – if you have been deferred for any assessment, you will be expected to complete relevant deferred assessments as determined by the Natural Sciences Mitigation Committee. If there are valid reasons why you cannot submit one or more of the original summative assessments, your assessment mark may be set aside or substituted by proxy mark as agreed by the Mitigation Committee and as described in the Mitigation section of the Assessment Handbook. The mark given for re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%.

RESOURCES
INDICATIVE LEARNING RESOURCES - The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that you are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Convener

Reading list for this module:

  • P.W. Atkins and J de Paula, “Atkins’ Physical Chemistry”, 9th Edition, Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • C.N. Banwell and E.M. McCash, “Fundamentals of Molecular Spectroscopy”, McGraw-Hill, 1994.
Module has an active ELE page?

Yes

Web based and electronic resources
Other resources

 

CREDIT VALUE 15 ECTS VALUE

7.5

PRE-REQUISITE MODULES

NSC1003 Foundations in Natural Sciences

CO-REQUISITE MODULES

None

NQF LEVEL (FHEQ)

5

AVAILABLE AS DISTANCE LEARNING?

No

ORIGIN DATE

08/01/2014

LAST REVISION DATE

16/01/2018

KEY WORDS SEARCH

Physical chemistry, quantum mechanics, spectroscopy