Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Innovative Chemistry for Energy and Materials
Code CHEM184
Coordinator Prof LJ Hardwick
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2019-20 Level 4 FHEQ Second Semester 15

Pre-requisites before taking this module (or general academic requirements):



The aim of this module is to give students an understanding of:
1. The underlying principles of the chemistry of electrochemical storage devices (batteries, supercapacitors) and energy conversion devices (fuel cells).
2. The fundamentals of solar energy conversion including photovoltaics and artificial solar synthesis.
3. How chemistry impacts strongly on everyday devices - using the "smart phone" as an illustrative example to introduce concepts of modern displays (liquid crystal, organic LED), coating technology and transistors.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of this module a student will be able to demonstrate an understanding of:
* simple chemical and electrochemical reactions
* the relationship between fundamental materials properties and technological applications
* the role of chemistry in complex multidisciplinary technologies
* basic principles of battery/supercapacitor electrochemistry - such as the electric double layer
* calculation of theoretical specific energies and energy densities
* challenges and goals of research in energy storage/conversion devices
* intercalation of ions into host structures
* the basic principle of operation of a fuel cell
* basic theory of semiconductors
* different classes of photovoltaic devices
* basic principles of an artificial leaf
* the chemical technologies involved in the realisation of the "smart phone"
* liquid crystalline state and optical anisotropy
* the origin of electrical conductivity

(S1) A student will be able to demonstrate the following skills:
* self-study - via independent reading of suggested review articles
* critical thinking - for example there are many different energy storage devices with adventagous and disadventagous propeties and scientific challenges to overcome - and the students ability to evaluate material presented to them can be assessed by short essay question in the examination

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Material will be presented in lectures (30) and reinforced by problems set in 3 whole-class tutorial sessions, which will occur at the end of each of the 3 segments of the course.

Each lecturer will encourage the students form study groups for their part of the module, and will throughout the course suggest topics and material that can be discussed in more depth with references to relevant books, articles and literature. The study groups will not be mandatory and will be student led.

The study groups typically involve four to six students who meet weekly, to share information, knowledge, and expertise about material presented within the lectures. The study group environment offers students an opportunity to engage in a more in-depth discussion about course material. Students working in small groups typically learn more of what is taught and retain it longer than when the same content is presented in other instructional formats.

Assessment of both these learning me thods will be through an essay style question that will examine the breadth of the students’ knowledge of the subject areas presented in this course.



Materials for Energy
1. Introduction to course, overview of Energy crisis
2. Electrochemistry and Devices 1, introduction to electrochemistry
3. Electrochemistry and Devices 2, redox reactions, origin of potential
4. Modern Batteries 1: Intercalation Chemistry
5. Modern Batteries 2: Li-ion, NiMH
6. Future Batteries 1, metal-air (Li-air)
7. Future Batteries 2, Li-S, flow cells
8. Supercapacitors and the electrochemical double layer
9. Fuel Cells PEMFC (Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell)
10. Fuel Cells SOFC (Solid oxide fuel cells)

The chemistry of solar energy utilisation
1. Introduction to the chemistry of solar energy, global energy calculations, routes to solar energy conversion and the role of chemistry
2. Interaction of light with matter, absorption, emission and scattering (see also CHEM152), photoelectric effect
3. Photovoltaics 1, the band model, p-n junctions, Si-PV
4. Photovoltaics 2, Si-PV, efficiency calculations, limitations to efficiency and the Shockley–Queisser limit, Tandem cells
5. Photovoltaics 3, excitonic solar cells: The dye cell, OPV
6. Solar energy for fuels, energy storage, principles of photosynthesis,
7. Sustainable Hydrogen production, thermochemical, electrochemical, photochemical
8. Photoelectrochemistry, the semiconductor-electrolyte interface
9. Photoelectrochemistry, recent developments, nanostructuring, heterojunctions and co-catalysts
10. Solar energy for environmental remediation

The Chemistry of the Smart Phone
1. Chemical Science that underpins Smart Phone Technology: An Introduction, Batteries (see Lectures by LH), Liquid Crystals, Polymers, Semiconductors, Conductive Glass, Heterojunctions
2. Materials Properties, The liquid crystalline state, Polymers
3. Mat erials Properties II, Electronic properties of molecules, Conductive polymers,
4. Display Technology I, Field emission displays, Liquid Crystal Displays, The phenomenon of colour
5. Display Technology II, Conductive Polymers Displays, Recent Developments
6. Micro-technology in Smart Phones I, silicon technology, the band model, doping
7. Micro-technology in Smart Phones II, Pn junctions, diodes and transistors, integrated circuits
8. Conductive glasses, ITO and other small band gap semiconductors, Touch screen technology
9. Heterojunctions I, III/V and II/VI Semiconductors
10. Heterojunctions II The role of heterojunctions in mobile communication

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 30


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 117


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
formal examination  120 minutes    80       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
4 problem sets Three short problem sheets will be set in advance of the tutorials. The work will be collected, marked and feedback provided. Answers to the problems will then be discussed and worked   4 sets    20