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 Professor LJ Hardwick
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2022-23 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

(S2) * critical thinking - for example there are many different energy storage devices with advantageous and disadvantageous properties and scientific challenges to overcome - and the student's ability to evaluate material presented to them can be assessed by short essay question in the examination

(S3) Dimensional analysis of relationships between energy related physical quantities

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lectures: This module is in three sections and will consist of podcasts for providing the material which are the equivalent of 30 lectures.

Workshops: The podcasts will be supported by 10 weekly in- person whole class workshop sessions (2 hours).
There will be an introductory workshop in week 1, during which the module leader will explain the flipped classroom approach to teaching used in this module.

Each lecturer will set weekly online quizzes which contribute (to a very small extent) to the total mark.

Coursework 1: The workshops for each section of the module will be followed by a set of problems, provided in advance. The work will be collected, marked and feedback provided within the workshop sessions.

Coursework 2: Peerwise

*Lectures: 30 hr
*Workshops: 20 hr



Materials for Energy
1. Electrochemistry and Devices 1, introduction to electrochemistry
2. Electrochemistry and Devices 2, redox reactions, origin of potential
3. Modern Batteries 1: Intercalation Chemistry
4. Modern Batteries 2: Li-ion
5. Future Batteries 1, Li-air
6. Future Batteries 2, flow cells
7. Electrochemical capacitors and the electrochemical double layer
8. Fuel Cells PEMFC (Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell)

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
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 cell s
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

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. Materials 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 100


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Unseen closed-book in-person written examination  120    60       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Three problem sets    30       
Peerwise exercise    10