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 CHEM184
Coordinator Prof LJ Hardwick
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2016-17 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

The course will cover a wide variety of topics in the area of innovative chemistry for energy and materials. This will act as an introduction to these areas to enable the student to pursue their interests to a deeper le vel independently, and to provide a foundation level knowledge in materials and electrochemistry, to be expanded in subsequent core and optional chemistry modules.

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
  • < li> 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

A student will be able to demonstrate the following skills:

  • self-study - via independent reading of suggested review articles
  • critical thinking - for example there are many different energy storage devices with adventagous a nd disadventagous propeties and scientific challenges to overcome - and the students ability to evaluate material presented to them can be assessed by short essay question in the examination

Learning Outcomes

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lecture -



Innovative Chemistry Course - Materials for Energy

1.      Introduction to course, overview of Energy crisis

2.      Electrochemistry and Devices 1, introduction to electrochemistry

3.      Electrochemistry and Devices 2, redox reactions, origin of potential

4.      Modern Batteries 1: Intercalation Chemistry

5.      Modern Batteries 2: Li-ion, NiMH

6.      Future Batteries 1, metal-air (Li-air)

7.      Future Batteries 2, Li-S, flow cells

8.      Supercapacitors and the electrochem ical double layer

9.      Fuel Cells PEMFC (Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell)

10.     Fuel Cells SOFC (Solid oxide fuel cells)

11.   Workshop Lecture


Innovative Chemistry Course - 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 (see also CHEM152), photoelectric effect

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 cells

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

9.       Photoelectrochemistry,  recent developments, nanostructuring, heterojunctions and co-catalysts

10.   Solar energy for environment al remediation

11.   Workshop lecture


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 D isplays, 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

 11.  Workshop Lecture

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 33

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 117


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Written Exam  2 hours  80  Students who fail this module will be given the opportunity to re-sit the exam   N/A  Assessment 2 Notes (applying to all assessments) Workshop within 3 lectures The workshop lectures will be used to reinforce the material presented within the lectures. Three short problem sheets will be set in advance. The work will be collected, marked and feedback provided. Problem sheets will then be discussed and worked through within the tutorial lectures. The work will not be marked anonymously. A fourth assessment will be made through Peerwise. Written exam For resit exams the maximum mark will be 40%. This work is marked anonymously Please note if a student passes the workshop component but fails the module overall, then the marks for the workshop stands and the resit examination is 80% of the mark for the module, butif the student has failed the workshop component, then the resit examination would be 100% of the mark for the module.  
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Coursework  3 hours total  20  None (Please see notes in Written exam)  Standard University Policy applies - see Department/School handbook for details  Assessment 1