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 Dr C Cropper
Central Teaching Laboratory
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2018-19 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 and be able to apply: 
  • the importance of quantum mechanics in understanding atomic structure
  • the interaction of light with matter
  • atomic and molecular spectroscopy
  • information obtained from different spectroscopic techniques
  • the interpretation of spectroscopic data for deduction of molecular structure

Learning Outcomes

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

  • An understanding of atomic structure underpinned by a detailed explanation of quantum mechanical theory.
  • The fundamental principles behind rotational, vibrational, electronic spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.  
  • Application of spectroscopic techniques to elucidate moecular structure.
  • Be able to apply this knowledge to real spectroscopic problems.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lecture -

Workshops -


Introduction to spectroscopy (L1)
  • Principles of Spectroscopy
  • Boltzmann Populations
  • Sp ectroscopic techniques

UV/visible spectroscopy (L1)

  • Absorption of UV–VIS radiation
  • Electronic transitions in the vacuum–UV
  • π–conjugation in organic molecules
  • Compounds that absorb in the visible region
WORKSHOP 1: Analysis of UV/VIS spectra
Mass spectrometry (L2/3)
  • Introduction to ionisation techniques
  • Electron impact mass spectroscopy (focus on TOF)
  • Isotope abundances
  • Parent ions and fragmentations
WORKSHOP 2: Analysis of mass spectra
IR spectroscopy (L4)
  • Absorption of IR radiation
  • Regions of the IR spectrum
  • Analysing IR spectra 
  • Applications of IR spectroscopy
WORKSHOP 3: Analysis of IR spectra

NMR spectroscopy (L5-8)

  • Magnetically active nuclei and abundance 
  • Recording an NMR spectrum
  • Solvents
  • Chemical shift equivalence of nuclei
  • Homonuclear and Heteronuclear coupling between nuclei with I = 1/2, multiplicity and coupling constants
  • Splittling (stick) diagrams
  • The role of hydrogen bonds
  • Strategy for structure elucidation
WORKSHOP 4-7: Analysis of NMR spectra

WORKSHOP 8: Practical NMR: an introduction to Topspin 
Combining spectroscopic techniques for structure elucidation (L9)
WORKSHOP 9: combining spectroscopic techniques
WORKSHOP 10: strucure elucidation from spectroscopy
The role of quantum mechanics in chemistry (L10)
The basic ideas of quantum mechanics (L11,12)
  • To include free particles , uncertainty principle
WORKSHOP 11: refresher of potential energy, classical trajectories, probability and complex numbers
Translational motion  (L13)
  • particle in a 1D box
Vibrational motion (L14)
  • harmonic oscillator
WORKSHOP 12: particle in one dimension problems
Separable problems (L15)
Rotational motion  (L1 6)
  • free rotor
WORKSHOP 13: problems on all topic covered so far in lectures 13-16
Vibrational and rotational Spectroscopy (L17,18)
  • 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 and Raman spectroscopies as an analytical tool

    WORKSHOP 14: spectroscopy problems relating to lectures 18 and 17

    H-atom and its absorption spectrum (L19,20)
    Formal postulates of quantum mechanics (L21,22)
    WORKSHOP 15: problems involving topics from lectures 10 to 22
    Revisiting Spin - electron vs nuclear (L23)
    Multi-electron systems (L24)
    Combining techniques for molecular structure determination  revision (L25,26)
    WORKSHOP 16: Molecular determination from combined techniques
    Revision lectures and drop-in sessions will be offered.

    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  3 hrs  End Semester 2  80  Yes    examination Notes (applying to all assessments) - none 
    CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
    % of
    Penalty for late
    Coursework  13 workshops through    20  No reassessment opportunity  Standard UoL penalty applies  material completed in workshops There is no reassessment opportunity, formative workshops: exemption approved