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 Advanced Spectroscopy (C OPTION)
Code CHEM451
Coordinator Dr H Arnolds
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 7.5

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



This is an advanced module that aims to introduce the student to modern spectroscopic techniques and their applications in materials characterisation. Emphasis is given to those techniques, which are currently most important to chemical research both in industry and academia. The students should be able to understand the basic physical principles of these techniques and to decide which combination of techniques is best employed to tackle a particular problem of materials characterisation.

The module will deal in-depth with

- vibrational spectroscopies (infrared reflection absorption, attenuated total internal reflection and surface enhanced Raman) and their application to the study of molecules at surfaces relevant to materials characterisation, heterogeneous catalysis and nanoscience;

- electronic spectroscopies (X-ray and ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy, Auger, energy dispersive Xray spectroscopy) and their application to determine the chemical composition of interfaces.

The module will also cover a range of other analytical chemistry tools suitable for interface and materials characterisation.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) By the end of the module, successful students should have gained an in-depth understanding of a range of advanced spectroscopies and be able to explain the physical principles of these spectroscopies, analyse spectra and be able to discuss their suitability to address certain problems of materials characterisation.

(LO2) Successful students should be able to explain surface vibrational spectroscopy (infrared absorption and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy), interpret spectra and apply selection rules to determine the orientation of molecules at surfaces.

(LO3) Successful students should be able to explain electronic spectroscopies (photoelectron, Auger, energy dispersive Xray spectroscopy), interpret spectra and deduce surface chemical composition based on quantitative and qualitative analysis

(LO4) Successful students should be able to critically compare different methods of spectroscopy and their suitability to tackle a particular problem in materials characterisation

(LO5) Successful students should be able to critically evaluate the use of spectroscopy to support scientific conclusions based on literature

(S1) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S2) Numeracy/computational skills - Problem solving

(S3) Information skills - Critical reading

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module consists of 16 50-minute lectures.
A 2 hour Workshop on spectral analysis is used to bridge the gap between assessment-style and real-world problems - the students will use CasaXPS (the standard software for analysing XPS spectra) to analyse a given data set.
There are 3 sets of tutorial style questions that will be set during the Semester and assessed, to count 20% of the final mark. Solutions and common mistakes will be discussed during a one-hour tutorial and general feedback given to the whole class.



1. Vibrational Spectroscopies (6 lectures)

- infrared spectroscopy (3 lectures)

- surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (3 lectures)

2. Electronic spectroscopies (6 lectures)

- photoelectron spectroscopies (XPS and UPS) (4 lectures)

- Auger and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (2 lectures)

3. Supporting techniques (2 lectures)

- quartz crystal microbalance

- ellipsometry

- surface plasmon resonance

4. Critical Evaluation of Spectroscopy Literature (2 lectures)

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 16



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 56


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Formall Examination  120 minutes    80       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
3 extended problem sets Standard UoL penalties apply for late submission. There is no re-submission opportunity. These assignments are not marked anonymously.  3 hours    20