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 Physical Chemistry IIB
Code CHEM262
Coordinator Dr GR Darling
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 5 FHEQ Second Semester 7.5

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



• To provide an introduction into basic concepts of quantum mechanics.
• To advance knowledge of quantitative analysis of molecular spectra.
• To make students familiar with the basic ideas of photochemistry.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts of quantum mechanics, including operators and wavefunctions, and their application to simple systems.

(LO2) Show an understanding of different types of molecular energy levels, the forms of spectroscopy which involve transitions between them, and how molecular quantities can be extracted from the spectra.

(S1) Critical thinking and problem solving - Evaluation

(S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Problem identification

(S3) Numeracy/computational skills - Reason with numbers/mathematical concepts

(S4) Numeracy/computational skills - Confidence/competence in measuring and using numbers

(S5) Numeracy/computational skills - Problem solving

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module consists of 19 lectures (50 minutes), plus one revision lecture at the end of term. The material presented at the lectures and its application for solving problems is supported by two 2-hour workshops at times to be published.



Quantum mechanics

1. Basic postulates of quantum mechanics and their interpretation, including: wave-functions and Born interpretation and Heisenberg uncertainty relations.
2. Methods of quantum mechanics including: properties of operators and the relationship to physical observables, eigenvalue equations and expectation values, transition dipole moments.
3. Hamiltonian and momentum operators, the basics of the Schrödinger equation.
4. Examples of the Schrödinger equation, including: particle in a one-dimensional box, particle on a ring, tunnelling, atomic and molecular energy levels, potential energy curves, the Born-Oppenheimer Approximation.
5. Bonding in simple molecules.


1. The basics of spectra formation: transitions, energy scales, line widths.
2. Rotation spectra of diatomics: eigenvalues, selection rules, line spacing, quantitative description.
3. Harmonic oscillator model of mo lecular vibrations: eigenvalues, selection rules.
4. The rotation-vibrations spectrum: qualitative appearance, line spacings in the harmonic oscillator rigid rotor approximation, quantitative description.
5. Anharmonicity: comparison to harmonic oscillator, effects on IR spectra.
6. Vibrations of polyatomics (revision).
7. Electronic transitions: the Franck-Condon Principle, selection rules, vertical transitions, vibrational structure.
8. Spectrometer, Lambert-Beer law, absorption of mixtures, isosbestic point.


1. Dissociation induced by electronic transitions: Bound - bound and bound - free (continuum) transitions.
2. Jablonski diagram, radiative and non-radiative decay processes, fluorescence and phosphorescence.
3. Kinetics of excited state decay, quantum yield, fluorescence quenching, photochemical reactions.

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 19


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 52


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
One class test with resit opportunity  2 hours    20       
formal examination  90 minutes    80       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late