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 CHEM313
Coordinator Dr SY Chong
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2018-19 Level 6 FHEQ First Semester 15

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

Completion of years 1 and 2 of an MChem or BSc (Hons) Chemistry programme or, for PGT students, a non-University of Liverpool BSc (Hons) Chemistry programme.  


This module aims to
  • Enhance students'' understanding of the fundamental nature of ordered crystalline solids
  • Develop the concept that the structure of materials impact on their properties and applications
  • Provide an introduction to the use of diffraction methods to characterise crystal structures
  • Describe characterisation techniques, for both crystalline and amorphous materials.
  • Outline electronic structure in the solid state.
  • Describe a range of materials manufacturing techniques.
  • Explain the origin of magnetism in the solid state.
  • Outline the practical implications of magnetic materials
  • Describe how we make and study magnetic inorganic solids
  • Highlight current research trends in inorganic magnetochemistry

Learning Outcomes

Understand and describe the characteristics of the crystalline solid state

Be able to perform simple analyses of powder X-ray diffraction data

Describe the factors affecting the crystal structures formed by ionic compounds 

Understand that solid structure directly influences the physical and functional properties of materials, and describe examples

Understand the solid-state electronic structure of inorganic materials.
Recognise favourable methods for fabrication, characterisation, and functional property optimisation of specific materials.
Appreciate the real-world relevance of materials design.

Understand the microscopic origins of magnestism, and describe the mechanisms which lead to collective magnetic behaviour

Interpret magnetic data and classify types of inorganic magnetic materials
Recognise the uses of magnetic materials

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lecture - Lecture

Tutorial - Tutorial


Introduction to Solid State Chemistry (10 lectures by Dr. Sam Chong)
  • Basic concepts in crystalline solids (builds on CHEM111)What is a crystal? – lattices, unit cells, symmetry 
    • Describing crystal structures – fractional coordinates, Miller indices
    • Close packing of spheres in me tallic solids
    • Simple ionic solids derived from close-packed structures
    • Rationalising structure types using radius ratio rule, and its limitations
  • Diffraction characterisation of crystalline solids
    • Interference of waves, Braggs'' law
    • Concept of the reciprocal lattice, relation to the direct lattice and diffraction  
    • Diffraction intensities and systematic absences 
    • Experimental aspects of X-ray diffraction and uses of powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD ) 
    • Application of concepts to indexing PXRD patterns and deducing lattice centring
    • Limitations and complementary experimental methods (scattering, spectroscopy, imaging and microscopy techniques - continued in Manufacturing Materials)
  • Solid state structures of functional inorganic materials
    • Structure-function relationships and applications of functional crystalline solids
    • Polymorphism - concept and examples in ionic solids, contrasts in physical properties
    • Spinels - normal vs. inverse structures and contributing factors 
    • Perovskites - use of tolerance factor to predict perovskite distortion
    • Covalent solids - properties and structures of carbon allotropes 
    • Framework solids - structures and properties of zeolites, metal-organic frameworks
  • Introducing complexity
    • Hybrid structures (MOFs, hybrid perovskites, fullerides)
    • Structure of the YBCO high temp erature superconductor as a perovskite superstructure
    • Structure of point and extended defects
    • Doping, non-stoichiometry and disorder
    • Influence of defect structure on functional properties and applications (examples from ionic conduction, MOFs)
Manufacturing Materials (10 lectures by Dr. Colin Crick)
  • Structure-function Relationship
    • Review solid-state bonding models (covalent, ionic, metallic), and contrast differences with molecular bonding.
    • Structure-function relationship, how structure can determine a materi als application.
  • Electrons in Solids
    • Qualitative description of distinction between metals, semi-conductors, and insulators (atomic vs. molecular electronic structure).
    • Density of states and Fermi energy, and experimental evidence for these concepts.
    • Conductivity (Carrier density and temperature dependence).
    • Electronic structure of simple metals and transition metals.
    • Band gap manipulation (Semi-conductor doping / Silicon vs. III/V systems).
    • Mott-Hubbard insulators and the breakdown of the band model.
  • Functional Polymers
    • Characteristics required for enhanced function, includes; conductive polymers, biomimetic (stimuli-responsive, self-healing, and self-cleaning), and tuning optical property control.
    • Engineering approaches for desired characters; low-cost, eco-friendly, an d environmental endurance.
    • Fabrication of Materials
    • Deposition of thin films via lithography (including; Self-assembled monolayers), chemical vapour deposition, physical vapour deposition, and doping approaches. Includes looking at growth mechanisms.
    • Network forming reactions, including sol-gel methods (e.g. SiO2 templating) and thermoset polymers (contrast with thermoplastics).
  • Characterisation of Materials
    • Probing electronic structure; semiconductor analysis (resistivity, carrier concentration, mobility, and contact resistance), and band gap measurement.
    • Advance structural analysis, includes; consideration of local vs. bulk analysis; electron diffraction, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy.
    • Probing the morphology of materials; optical microscope (confocal), scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy.
    • Quantifying materials composition; energy/wavelength-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (W/EDX), electron energy loss spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.
  • Real-World Application of  Materials
    • Industrially relevant materials fabrication, includes; energy-efficient glass, microfabrication – semiconductor circuit boards / lab-on-a-chip, and injection moulding
Magnetic materials (10 lectures by Dr. Lucy Clark)
  • Synthesis of inorganic solids
    • Compare polycrystalline and single crystal samples and the advantages and disadvantages of their syntheses
    • Outline methods for synthesis of polycrystalline samples
    • Consider the difference in experimental conditions requir ed for direct synthesis in the solid-state vs. in solution
    • Develop overview of single crystal growth methods
  • Introduction to magnetochemistry
    • Introduce the concept that solids contain magnetic moments that interact with one another in a variety of different ways, giving rise to a diverse range of exciting and useful bulk materials properties
    • Describe several key manifestations and applications of magnetism as well as compare orders of magnitude of magnetic field strengths
    • Familiarise with units of magnetism
  • The origin of magnetism in materials
    • Revisit spin and orbital angular momenta and their relevant quantum numbers and magnetic moments
    • Introduce the Bohr magneton as a convenient unit for atomic magnetism
  • Magnetic moments of is olated atoms or ions
    • Describe the coupling of spin and orbital angular momenta and revise Hund’s rules to arrive at ground state magnetic moments and term symbols of rare-earth ions
    • Describe the effects of crystal fields and orbital quenching of magnetic moments of 3d transition metals to arrive at a spin-only formula
    • Compare calculated and observed magnetic moments of rare-earth and transition metal ions
  • Magnetisation and magnetic susceptibility
    • Classify diamagnets and paramagnets by the sign and temperature-dependence of their magnetic susceptibilities and compare some common materials
    • For paramagnetism, demonstrate Curie’s Law and how – through the measurement of bulk magnetic susceptibility – we can determine the atomic magnetic moment of a material
  • Magnetic interactions in the solid state
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  • Compare ferromagnetic, antiferromagnetic and ferrimagnetic states, with examples, that can be produced via magnetic interactions
  • Consider the energy scale of the dipolar interaction to show that this is too low in energy to account for the high-temperature magnetic order observed in many magnetic materials
  • Describe the concept of exchange to derive the Heisenberg Hamiltonian. Outline how exchange can occur directly, but more frequently indirectly through the indirect superexchange mechanism
  • Make use of orbital overlap diagrams to show how 90 º and 180 º bonding interactions lead to ferro- and antiferromagnetic orders, respectively
  • Measuring magnetic order in solids
    • Give an overview of magnetometry techniques and the capabilities for measuring magnetisation at the University of Liverpool
    • Describe how neutrons are very useful for studying magnetic materials
  • Introduction to multiferroic materials
    • Introduce the concept that coupling the order of spin, charge and lattice degrees of freedom in materials presents a major grand challenge in modern solid-state chemistry research
    • Define the concepts of ferroelectricity and ferroelasticity in analogy with ferromagnetism and detail the technological importance of coupling ferroic orders of solids

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 35
Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 110


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Unseen Written Exam  3 hours  First  80  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  Final written exam Notes (applying to all assessments) Five problem sets will be set during the semester which will be assessed with the questions being discussed in tutorials. Anonymous marking is impossible for these problem sets.  
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Coursework  5x4 hr problem sets  Semester 1  20  No reassessment opportunity  Standard UoL penalty applies  Tutorials There is no reassessment opportunity,