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 Introductory Spectroscopy
Code CHEM170
Coordinator Dr C Cropper
Central Teaching Laboratory
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2019-20 Level 4 FHEQ Whole Session 15

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



The aim of this module is to introduce modern spectroscopic methods in chemistry.

Students will understand and be able to apply:
o the importance of quantum mechanics in understanding atomic structure
o the interaction of light with matter
o atomic and molecular spectroscopy
o information obtained from different spectroscopic techniques
o the interpretation of spectroscopic data for deduction of molecular structure

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:
* an understanding of atomic structure.
* an understanding of the fundamental principles behind rotational, vibrational, electronic spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
* an understanding of the application of spectroscopic techniques to elucidate molecular structure.
* the ability to apply this knowledge to real spectroscopic problems.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lectures (32 hours in total, incl. 5 revision lectures, although some will be in 2-hour lecture slots) will consist of Powerpoint/overhead presentations to cover module syllabus. Students will be given an accompanying text book to reinforce material. The final lecture slots in each Semester will be used for revision purposes.

In addition to the theoretical background presented in the lectures, workshops (18, of two or three hours length) will reinforce the material with additional further examples of the relevant topics. Students will be given problems which have to be completed during the workshop and assessed.



Semester 1

Introduction to spectroscopy (L1)
• Principles of Spectroscopy
• Boltzmann Populations
• Spectroscopic techniques
UV/visible spectroscopy (L1)
• Absorption of UV–VIS radiation
• Electronic transitions in the vacuum–UV
• π–conjugation in organic molecules
• Compounds that absorb in the visible region

WORKSHOP 1: Analysis of UV/VIS spectra

Mass spectrometry (L2/3)
• Introduction to ionisation techniques
• Electron impact mass spectroscopy (focus on TOF)
• Isotope abundances
• Parent ions and fragmentations

WORKSHOP 2: Analysis of mass spectra

IR spectroscopy (L4)
• Absorption of IR radiation
• Regions of the IR spectrum
• Analysing IR spectra
• Applications of IR spectroscopy

W ORKSHOP 3: Analysis of IR spectra

NMR spectroscopy (L5-8)
• Magnetically active nuclei and abundance
• Recording an NMR spectrum
• Solvents
• Chemical shift equivalence of nuclei
• Homonuclear and Heteronuclear coupling between nuclei with I = 1/2, multiplicity and coupling constants
• Splittling (stick) diagrams
• The role of hydrogen bonds
• Strategy for structure elucidation

WORKSHOP 4-7: Analysis of NMR spectra

WORKSHOP 8: Practical NMR: an introduction to Topspin

Combining spectroscopic techniques for structure elucidation (L9-11)

WORKSHOP 9-10: combining spectroscopic techniques

Revision of first semester work (L12)

WORKSHOP 11-12: strucure elucidation from spectroscopy

Second semester:

The role of quantum mechanics in chemistry (L1)
The basic ideas of quantum mechanics (L1,2)
Ȃ 2; To include free particles, uncertainty principle

WORKSHOP 1: refresher of potential energy, classical trajectories, probability and complex numbers

Translational motion (L3)
• particle in a 1D box

Vibrational motion (L4)
• harmonic oscillator

WORKSHOP 2: particle in one dimension problems

Separable problems (L5)

Rotational motion (L6)
• free rotor

WORKSHOP 3: problems on all topic covered so far in lectures 3-6

Vibrational and rotational Spectroscopy (L7,8)
• Rotating molecules and moments of inertia
• Rotational spectroscopy: rigid rotor diatomic
• Rotational Selection Rules and Determination of bond lengths
• Vibrations of a diatomic molecule
• Vibrational Selection rules
• Vibrational spectroscopy and determination of bond force constants
• Vibrations of small polyatomi cs
• Use of IR and Raman spectroscopies as an analytical tool

WORKSHOP 4: spectroscopy problems relating to lectures 8 and 7

H-atom and its absorption spectrum (L9,10)

Formal postulates of quantum mechanics (L11,12)

WORKSHOP 5: problems involving topics from lectures 10 to 12

Revisiting Spin - electron vs nuclear (L13)

Multi-electron systems (L14)

Combining techniques for molecular structure determination revision (L15,16)

WORKSHOP 6: Molecular determination from combined techniques

Revision lectures (4) and drop-in sessions will be offered.

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 32


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 81


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
formal examination  180 minutes    80       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
workshop material, completed during the workshops. There is no re-submission opportunity. These assignments are not marked anonymously.  18 workshops    20