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 2021-22 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 delivered asynchronously will consist of bitesized videos to cover module syllabus. Students will be given access to an accompanying text book to reinforce material. The final lectures in each Semester will be used for revision purposes.

In addition to the theoretical background presented in the lectures, workshops will reinforce the material with additional further examples of the relevant topics. Students will be given problems that have to be completed during the workshop or submitted online after the workshop, and assessed.

Recorded Lecture: 32
Self-Directed Learning: 81
Workshop/Online Contact: 37



Semester 1

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

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

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

NMR spectroscopy
• Magnetically active nuclei and abundance
• Recording a n 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

Combining spectroscopic techniques for structure elucidation

Second semester:

The role of quantum mechanics in chemistry
The basic ideas of quantum mechanics
• To include free particles, uncertainty principle

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

Translational motion
• particle in a 1D box

Vibrational motion
• harmonic oscillator

WORKSHOP: particle in one dimension problems

Separable problem

Rotational motion
• free rotor

WORKSHOP: problems on all topic covered so far

Vibrational and rotational Spectroscopy
• 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 polyatomics
• Use of IR and Raman spectroscopies as an analytical tool

WORKSHOP: spectroscopy problems

H-atom and its absorption spectrum

Formal postulates of quantum mechanics

WORKSHOP: problems involving topics

Revisiting Spin - electron vs nuclear

Multi-electron systems

Revision lectures 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
remote class test 1 test in Semester 1 (30%) 1 test in Semester 2 (30%)  1.5 hours on task, p    60       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Workshop material, completed during the 10 workshops. There is no re-submission opportunity. These assignments are not marked anonymously. Some workshop questions will be submitted electronically.   10 workshops    40