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 Physical Chemistry IIB
Code CHEM262
Coordinator Dr GR Darling
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2018-19 Level 5 FHEQ Second Semester 7.5

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

CHEM170; CHEM180  


  • To provide an introduction into basic concepts of quantum mechanics.    
  • To advance knowledge of quantitative analysis of molecular spectra.
  • To make students familiar with the basic ideas of photochemistry.

  • Learning Outcomes

    Demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts of quantum mechanics, including operators and wavefunctions.
    Show an understanding of molecular energy levels and the forms of spectroscopy which involve transitions between them.
    Compute basic properties of diatomics, eg bond lengths, from molecular spectra.
    Use mathematical procedures and graphs for quantitative data analysis and problem solving

    Present and discuss the solution to problems in a small-group environment.

    Teaching and Learning Strategies

    Lecture -

    Tutorial -


    Quantum mechanics

    1. Basic postulates of quantum mechanics and their interpretation, including: wave-functions and Born interpretation and Heisenberg uncertainty relations.
    2. Methods of quantum mechanics including: properties of operators and the relationship to physical observables, eigenvalue equations and expectation values, transition dipole moments.
    3. Hamiltonian and momentum operators, the basics of the Schrödinger equation.
    4. Examples of the Schrödinger equation, including: particle in a one-dimensional box, particle on a ring, tunnelling, atomic and molecular energy levels, potential energy curves, the Born-Oppenheimer Approximation.
    5. Bonding in simple molecules.


    1. The basics of spectra formation: transitions, energy scales, line widths.
    2. Rotation spectra of diatomics: eigenvalues, selection rules, line spacing, quantitative description.
    3. Harmonic oscillator model of molecular vibrations: eigenvalues, selection rules.
    4. The rotation-vibrations spectrum: qualitative appearance, line spacings in the harmonic oscillator rigid rotor approximation, quantitative description.
    5. Anharmonicity: comparison to harmonic oscillator, effects on IR spectra.
    6. Vibrations of polyatomics (revision).
    7. Electronic transitions: the Franck-Condon Principle, selection rules, vertical transitions, vibrational structure.
    8. Spectrometer, Lambert-Beer law, absorption of mixtures, isosbestic point.


    1. Dissociation induced by electronic transitions:  Bound - bound and bound - free (continuum) transitions.
    2. Jablonski diagram, radiative and non-radiative decay processes, fluorescence and phosphorescence.
    3. Kinetics of excited state decay, quantum yield, fluorescence quenching, photochemical reactions.

    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 20


    Timetable (if known)              
    Private Study 52


    EXAM Duration Timing
    % of
    Penalty for late
    Unseen Written Exam  1.5 hours  Second semester  80  Yes    Assessment 2 Notes (applying to all assessments) Tutorials contributing to the assessment of all learning outcomes by short answer, short essay type, and problem-solving questions, some of which are discussed in small group tutorials, where student participation is expected and assessed, while others are part of assignments to be submitted after the tutorial. Students are expected to spend two hours preparing for each tutorial and three hours preparing the assignment after each tutorial This work is not marked anonymously. Written Examination assessing learning outcomes is by short answer, short essay type, and problem-solving questions.  
    CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
    % of
    Penalty for late
    Coursework  3 sets  Second semester  20  No reassessment opportunity  Standard UoL penalty applies  Assessment 1 There is no reassessment opportunity,