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.
Code CHEM170
Coordinator Prof R Raval
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2016-17 Level 4 FHEQ Whole Session 15

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

A2 Chemistry or equivalent 



The aim of this module is to introduce modern spectroscopic methods in chemistry. Students will understand
  • the importance of quantum mechanics in understanding atomic structure < /li>
  • the interaction of light with matter
  • atomic and molecular spectroscopy
  • information obtained from different spectroscopic techniques
  • the interpretation of spectroscopic data
  • deduction of molecular structure from spectroscopic data

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, students should have achieved the following learning outcomes:

  • An understanding of atomic structure.
  • The fundamental principles behind rotational, vibrational, electronic spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.  
  • Application of spectroscopic techniques to elucidate moecular structure.
  • Be abble to apply this knowledge to real spectroscopic problems.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lecture -

Tutorial -


Semester 1 Lectures 1- 8
Atoms and atomic structure
  • Failures of Classical Physics
  • The development of modern atomic theory
  • The uncertainty principle
  • The Schrödinger wave equation
  • Quantum numbers
  • Atomic orbitals
  • Electronic Structure of Atoms
Semester 1 Lecture 9-10-
Introduction to spectroscopy
  • Principles of Spectroscopy
  • Boltzmann Populations
  • Spectroscopic techniques
Semester 1 lectures 11 - 15
Vibrational and rotational spectroscopies
  • 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 spectroscopy as an analytical tool
  • Lecture 15- Revision Lecture
Semester 2 lecture 1
UV/visible spectroscopy
  • Introduction
  • Absorption of UV–VIS radiation
  • Electronic transitions in the vacuum–UV
  • π–conjugation in organic molecules
  • Compounds that absorb in the visible region
Semester 2 lecture 2
Mass spectrometry
  • Electron impact mass spectroscopy
  • Isotope abundances
  • Parent ions and fragmentations
  • Case studies (elaborated in the tutorials/workshops).
Semester 2 lecture 3
IR spectroscopy
  • Introduction
  • Absorption of IR radiation
  • Regions of the IR spectrum
  • Analysing IR spectra
  • Case studies and examples
Semester 2 lectures 4 - 7

 NMR spectroscopy


  • Nuclear spin states
  • Recording an NMR spectrum
  • Chemical shifts and resonance frequencies
  • An introduction to analysing 13C and 1HNMR spectra
  • Homonuclear and Heteronuclear coupling between nuclei with I = 1/2
Seme ster 2 Lectures 8-9
Revision of all semester 2 topics
Semester 1 workshops 1 - 3
  • Electromagnetic Radiation: Energy, Frequency, Wavelength
  • SI units
  • Wave-particle Duality; Uncertainty
  • Atoms and atomic structure
Semester 1 workshops 4 - 5
  • Vibrational and Rotational Spectroscopy
Semester 2 workshops 1-3
  •  UV/visible, IR and Mass spectroscopy
  • Analysis and interpretation of spectra
Semester 2 workshops 4 - 7
  • NMR Spectroscopy
  • Analysis and interpretation of spectra
Semester 2 workshops 8 - 9
  • Revision workshops on all techniques

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.
Explanation of Reading List:

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 30


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 90


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Written Exam  1.5 hrs  End Semester 2  35  August/September resit period    Assessment 2 
Written Exam  1.5 hrs  End of Semester 1  35  August/September resit period    Assessment 3 Notes (applying to all assessments) workshops This work is not marked anonymously Examination Exam covering Semester 2 material Examination Exam covering Semester 1 material  
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Coursework    both  30  none  Standard University Policy applies - see Department/School handbook for details.  Assessment 1