Chemistry

The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in Chemistry.

Alternatively you may return to the complete list of Study Abroad Subject Areas.

BIOL115: Protein Biochemistry

  • Terms Taught: This course runs in Weeks 1-5 of Summer Term only.
  • US Credits: 2 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: High school biology and chemistry.

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to expand upon the introduction to proteins given in BIOL111. The course is split into two themes, the first of which is an introduction to the breadth of protein function, with an emphasis on how protein structure relates to function, and the second is an introduction to enzyme biochemistry.

Educational Aims

    On completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Describe different categories of protein structure and function.
  • Explain the relationship between protein structure and function.
  • Describe different mechanisms for post-translational regulation of protein activity.
  • Describe interactions between proteins and other molecules.
  • Understand the features of enzyme-catalysed reactions.
  • Describe the kinetics of enzyme-catalysed reactions using the Michaelis-Menton model.
  • Explain how enzyme activity is regulated in the cell.
  • Describe how enzyme kinetics can be used to investigate mode of inhibition for clinically relevant drugs.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures

  1. Protein function I
  2. Protein function II
  3. Protein Function III
  4. Protein Function IV
  5. Protein Function V
  6. Enzymes I - Introduction to enzymes
  7. Enzymes II - Enzyme activity / Reaction kinetics I
  8. Enzymes III - Reaction kinetics II
  9. Enzymes IV - Regulation of enzyme activity I
  10. Enzymes V - Regulation of enzyme activity II

Practicals/workshops

  • Week 1 - Laboratory-based practical - Protein biochemistry 
  • Week 2 - Computer based workshop - Protein structure/function 
  • Week 3 - Laboratory-based practical - Enzyme assay 
  • Week 4 - Theory-based workshop - Kinetics data handling 

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 30%
  • Coursework: 30%
  • Test: 40%

BIOL271: Biochemical Techniques

  • Terms Taught: This course runs in Weeks 1-5 of Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 2 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: BIOL201 (or equivalent)

Course Description

This course aims to provide a grounding in core techniques in protein purification. Through lectures and laboratory classes you will gain understanding and experience of a variety of commonly used biochemical methods employed in protein purification. The practical sessions are linked and require you to purify one of several proteins from a starting mixture on the basis of their biochemical properties. The four core topics are:

  1. Introduction to protein purification and bulk preliminary purification techniques
  2. Chromatography techniques for protein purification
  3. Protein and enzyme assay techniques
  4. Gel electrophoresis and associated techniques

Educational Aims

Students will be taught a variety of commonly used biochemical methods employed in protein purification. Such methods include extraction methodologies, differential centrifugation, ammonium sulphate precipitation, dialysis, protein assays, spectrophotometric methods, chromatography (size-exclusion, ion-exchange, hydrophobic), SDS-PAGE, western blotting and isoelectric focusing.

Outline Syllabus

The module is designed to provide students with a good working knowledge of the principals and practical techniques associated with the purification of proteins. Each subset of two lectures is linked to a practical in which the students put the theory discussed in the preceding lectures into practice. All four practical sessions form a coherent protein purification strategy; the theory being that the students start with a mixture of proteins and purify one particular protein by the end of the module.

Lectures

  • 1 - 2:  Introduction to protein purification Extraction methodologies, differential centrifugation, ammonium sulphate precipitation, dialysis
  • 3 - 4:  Chromatography: size-exclusion, ion-exchange, hydrophobic, high-performance liquid chromatography, monitoring and assays
  • 5 - 6:  Protein assays, spectrophotometric methods
  • 7 - 8:  SDS-PAGE, Western blotting, Isoelectric Focusing

Practical/ Workshop

  • 1:  Ammonium sulphate precipitation and dialysis
  • 2:  Size exclusion chromatography
  • 3:  Bradford protein assay
  • 4:  SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 60%
  • Test: 40%

BIOL281: Clinical Biochemistry

  • Terms Taught: This course runs in Weeks 1-5 of Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 2 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: BIOL201 (or equivalent)

Course Description

This course aims to highlight areas of interest which are common to the biochemist and to the physician in both diagnosis and patient management and to demonstrate the practical tests required for the diagnosis of some selected disease states.

Educational Aims

This module provides an opportunity for students to.

  • Understand the role of clinical biochemistry in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
  • Be able to demonstrate practical skills in the essentials of measurement, data generation and analysis.
  • Be able to undertake a thorough, sensitive and appropriately detailed assessment, using appropriate techniques and equipment.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures

  • 1  The use of biochemical tests in medicine. 
  • 2   Disorders of a calcium metabolism. .   
  • 3  The biochemistry of renal function   
  • 4   Disorders of the thyroid gland..   
  • 5   The hyperlipidaemias
  • 6   Acid-base disturbance   
  • 7   Endocrine investigations.  
  • 8   Liver function tests.  

Practicals

  • 1  Measurement of calcium and albumin in body fluids as an aid to diagnosis (practical).  
  • 2  Data interpretation - clinical and laboratory (workshop).  
  • 3  The measurement of enzymes (practical).  
  • 4  Protein electrophoresis (practical). 

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 60%
  • Test: 40%

BIOL313: Proteins: Structure, Function & Evolution

  • Terms Taught: Weeks 6-10 of Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: BIOL201 (or equivalent)

Course Description

This course builds on the topics and principals of biochemistry, focusing on protein biochemistry. Emphasis will be placed on student-centred learning and it is intended that topics introduced in lectures, practical sessions and workshops will be expanded and reinforced by extra reading. The course will be supported by ten practical/workshop sessions that will take the form of an advanced biochemistry laboratory course. You will perform an extended practical based upon protein purification during the course.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Understand the relationship between evolution and protein structure.
  • Describe how proteins fold and the issue of stability.
  • Know how proteins are targeted within the cell.
  • Describe how proteins are degraded.
  • Know how protein structures are determined.
  • Understand the use of bioinformatics in protein structure prediction.
  • Describe common types of protein modification and their function.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures

  • 1-2  Protein Evolution 
  • 3-4  Protein Structure and Shape 
  • 5-6  Folding 
  • 7-8  Solving Protein Structures/Bioinformatics 
  • 9     Intracellular Protein Motifs 
  • 10   Extracellular Protein Motifs 

Practicals/Workshops

  • Practical 1
  • Practical 2
  • Practical 3
  • Workshop
  • Exam/Revision workshop

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 67%
  • Coursework: 33%

CHEM101: Atoms and Molecules

  • Terms Taught:  This course runs in weeks 1-5 of Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 2 US Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits
  • Pre-requisites: High School Chemistry equivalent to UK A-level

Course Description

This module provides an introduction to the basic concepts of chemistry upon which the rest of the degree course will be based. The lectures cover topics such as the elements and Periodic Table, atomic structure, properties of atoms, molecular shape, types of bonding and the basic principles of spectroscopic techniques. Lectures are supported by seminar classes which are designed to reinforce key concepts and further understanding and also by laboratory classes to teach core practical skills.

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student should have:

  • Acquired a basic understanding of key concepts in chemistry including the mole and molar mass, atomic structure, valence bond theory and molecular shapes, polarisation, bonding etc.
  • This module is intended to give students the vocabulary and basic chemical knowledge which can then be built upon in subsequent chemistry modules.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures:

  • 1-4: Atomic and Electronic Structure:  History of the discovery of atomic structure, de Broglie's equation, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, the Schrodinger equation, quantum numbers, atomic orbitals, the Pauli exclusion principle, the Aufbau principle, Hund's rule, electron spin.
  • 5-8: Atoms and Ions:  The periodic table, isotopes, radioactivity, electronic configurations, ionisation potentials, introduction to redox chemistry.
  • 9-12: Bonding and Molecular Structure:  Ionic and covalent bonding, non-covalent interactions, Lewis theory, valence bond theory, hybridisation, VSEPR theory, molecular orbital theory of homodiatomic molecules.

Practicals:

  • 1 dry practical session in week 1 covering lab safety, COSHH and risk assessment
  • 3 laboratory sessions in weeks 2  4, introducing basic practical chemistry techniques.

Seminars:

  • 2 seminars one each in weeks 3 and 4, with problem sets covering the material from lectures

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 25%
  • Test: 25%

CHEM102: Organic Structure

  • Terms Taught: This course runs in weeks 6-10 of Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 2 US Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits
  • Pre-requisites: CHEM101 andHigh School Chemistry equivalent to UK A-Level

Course Description

The aim of this module is to familiarise students with the structures and shapes of organic molecules, to explain how these structures are named and represented, and how they can be determined by spectroscopic methods. Key concepts to be conveyed include the nomenclature of organic compounds, an overview of functional groups, their structure and their oxidation levels, and different types of isomers, including enantiomers and diastereoisomers. Furthermore, the concepts of hybridisation, conjugation and delocalisation in organic molecules will be described. As such, the course will equip the students with the knowledge and skills to name and draw organic compounds, to determine their shape and structure and to understand how these influence the molecular properties. In the later parts of the course, fundamental spectroscopic techniques for the determination of organic structures will be introduced. The aim is to equip the students with the skills to analyse spectra of simple organic molecules and to consolidate their understanding from the earlier parts of the course with appropriate spectroscopic examples. Lectures are supported by workshops, which will allow students to practise a variety of questions and reinforce key concepts. The associated practical sessions will enable students to consolidate the lecture material and to gain experience in key practical techniques of organic chemistry and the use of spectroscopic techniques for structure determination.

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Apply nomenclature conventions to name organic molecules.

  • Calculate the oxidation level of common organic functional groups.

  • Use molecular orbital theory to describe the bonding in simple functional groups.

  • Rationalise why organic molecules and functional groups adopt linear, planar or tetrahedral shapes.

  • Connect shape with electronic structure of organic molecules.

  • Demonstrate understanding of conjugation and delocalisation structures.

  • Use curly arrows to represent conjugation and delocalisation.

  • Apply the Cahn-Ingold-Prelog (CIP) convention correctly to assign the configuration of alkenes (E/Z) and of chiral centres (R/S).

  • Identify whether a given organic molecule is chiral.

  • Draw 2-dimensional representations of organic molecules that clarify their 3-dimensional structure in a way that is correct by convention: Use of skeletal formulae, hashed/wedged bonds and Newman projections.

  • Interpret infrared (IR) spectra of simple organic molecules: Identify functional groups

  • Interpret basic 13C NMR spectra: Rationalise the chemical shift and the number of carbon environments.

  • Interpret basic 1H NMR spectra: Rationalise the chemical shift, integration, number of proton environments and basic coupling patterns.

  • Predict the 1H/13C NMR spectra of simple unknown compounds when presented with their structure (integration, coupling pattern and estimate of chemical shift).

  • Use a combination of spectroscopic techniques (1H/13C NMR and IR spectroscopy) to identify simple unknown molecules

Outline Syllabus

  • 12 x lectures:

    • What do organic molecules look like? Overview of functional groups, nomenclature, concept of oxidation level, ways representing organic molecules, types of isomerism

    • Why do organic molecules adopt the shapes they do? Hybridisation and geometry, further MO theory of organic molecules, conjugation and delocalization, curly arrows in delocalisation structures

    • How do we know what organic molecules look like? Determining organic structures: infra-red spectroscopy (IR), mass spectrometry (MS), ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis), 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), double bond equivalents

    • How do we know if an organic molecule has a mirror image? Chirality, chiral molecules, enantiomers, Cahn-Ingold-Prelog convention: the R/S nomenclature, chiral and achiral diastereoisomers

    3 x Practicals:

    Basic practical techniques in organic chemistry, including distillation, aqueous extraction and identification of unknown compounds using 1H/13C NMR and IR spectroscopy

    Workshops:

    3 workshops (Weeks 7, 8 and 9), with problem sets covering the material from lectures

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 25%
  • Test: 25%

CHEM103: Chemistry of the Elements

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1-5 of Lent term only
  • US Credits: 2 Semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits
  • Pre-requisites: CHEM101 and High School Chemistry equivalent to UK A-Level

Course Description

The aim of this module is to provide students with basic knowledge, understanding and skills in inorganic chemistry. Specifically, the module will introduce key concepts that relate to:

  • Periodicity and trends in atomic properties
  • Bond models and molecular shapes
  • Variation of properties within a p-block group
  • Acid-base properties
  • d-block coordination complexes

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Describe how selected atomic properties including ionisation energies, size and electronegativity vary from element to element across a period and down a Group.
  • Discuss the influence these atomic properties have on the chemical properties of an element.
  • Describe proton transfer reactions in Brønsted–Lowry terms and have a working knowledge of pK values and how they vary with acid type.
  • Define and give examples of Lewis acids and Lewis bases and discuss the HSAB classification and its use.
  • Give an account of the common stereochemistries of coordination complexes, the chelate effect and introductory aspects of crystal field theory relating to colour and magnetic properties.
  • Plan, carry out and report on a simple qualitative inorganic analysis.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures

  • 1-2: Structure of Periodic Table, trends and periodicity in important atomic properties (ionisation potentials, size, electronegativity, effective nuclear charge), Metals, metalloids and non-metals.
  • 3-4: Bond types and molecular shapes. Effect of electronegativity and electronegativity differences on bond type (metallic/ionic/covalent). Shapes of covalent molecules (VSEPR model).
  • 5-6: Group trends: comparative chemistry of elements within a p-block group using selected examples to illustrate the effects of atom size, relative bond strengths and electronegativity variation.
  • 7-9: Acids and bases. Brønsted–Lowry definition. Aqua, hydroxo and oxoacids: trends in their pKa values and controlling factors. Acid-base properties of oxides. Condensation polymerisation and polyoxo species. Lewis acid-base theory and the HSAB classification.
  • 10-12: Introduction to d-block chemistry. Coordination complexes: ligand denticity and the chelate effect. Basic crystal field theory: d-orbital splitting in octahedral complexes and high-spin and low-spin configurations. Interpretation of colour and magnetic properties.

Practicals

  • The reactions of simple inorganic ions in solution and how they can be used for identification:
  • Qualitative analysis of inorganic ions - work on stock solutions
  • Qualitative analysis of inorganic ions - identification of unknowns
  • Observational exercises in transition metal chemistry.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 25%
  • Test: 25%

CHEM104: Organic Reactivity and Mechanism

  • Terms Taught: This modules runs in weeks 6-10 of Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 2 US Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits
  • Pre-requisites: CHEM102 andHigh School Chemistry equivalent to UK A-Level

Course Description

This module introduces the importance of molecular orbital theory in understanding organic reactivity, and explains how such reactivity can be accurately represented by curly arrow mechanisms. In addition, this course introduces important concepts of acidity, basicity, pKand leaving group ability. With this key information in hand, the reactivity of a broad range of organic functional groups can be readily explained. As such, in the first half of the course, the student will be equipped with the skills to predict the reactivity of a variety of carbonyl compounds in addition and substitution reactions. In the second half of the module, substitution reactions at saturated carbon and elimination reactions will be described. In this context, the students will be able to analyse the various factors involved in determining the outcome of these reactions and predict the reactivity of a variety of organic substrates.

Lectures are supported by seminar classes, which will enable the students to practise a variety of questions and reinforce key concepts. The theory will be put into practice in laboratory classes, where the students will gain skills in key practical techniques in organic synthesis, the use of IR and NMR spectrometers, and physical characterisation of new compounds.

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student should be able to:-

  • Using molecular orbital theory, describe the bonding in simple functional groups.

  • Use frontier molecular orbital theory (FMO) to describe organic reactivity.

  • Draw curly arrow organic reaction mechanisms in a way that is unambiguous and correct by convention, and recognise the relationship between curly arrows and orbital interactions.

  • Describe and predict the reactivity of hard and soft nucleophiles and electrophiles.

  • Predict the reactivity of carbonyl compounds in nucleophilic addition reactions.

  • Use pKa effectively to compare the acidity, basicity and leaving group ability of a variety of compounds.

  • Predict the reactivity of carbonyl compounds in nucleophilic substitution reactions.

  • Using substrate structure, leaving group, nucleophile and solvent to formulate the arguments, predict whether a substrate is likely to react via an SN1 or SN2 process.

  • Using substrate structure, basicity, size and temperature to formulate the arguments, predict whether a substrate is likely to eliminate via E1 or E2, or undergo substitution via SN1 or SN2.

Outline Syllabus

The following topics will be covered in the lectures (12 in total):

1. Molecular Orbital Theory

2. Curly Arrows in Organic Reactions

3. Hard and Soft Nucleophiles and Electrophiles

4. Nucleophilic Addition to the Carbonyl Group

5. Acidity, Basicity and pKa: Leaving Group Ability

6. Nucleophilic Substitution at the Carbonyl Group

7. Nucleophilic Substitution at Saturated Carbon: SN1 and SN2 Reactions

8. C=C Double Bond Formation: Elimination Reactions

 

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%

  • Coursework: 25%
  • Test: 25%

CHEM105: Coordination Chemistry

  • Terms Taught: This course runs in weeks 1-5 of Summer Term only.
  • US Credits: 2 US Semester Credits  
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits
  • Pre-requisites:  CHEM103 andHigh School Chemistry equivalent to UK A-level

Course Description

The aim of this module is to build on the content covered in CHEM103 and provide students with further knowledge, understanding and skills in inorganic chemistry.Specifically, the module will introduce key concepts that relate to: 

  • Chemical behaviour of s and p block elements
  • Synthesis and reactivity of s and p block compounds
  • The crystal field theory of bonding and its application to various geometries
  • Bonding in transition metal complexes
  • 2nd and 3rd row TM chemistry and differences to 1st row

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

  • Demonstrate understanding of how common compounds involving main group elements are prepared and be able to account for the observed reactivity of the elements within an s or p block group.

  • Use Crystal Field theory to account for different geometries adopted by Transition Metal complexes

  • Describe and discuss bonding between transition metals and common ligands including organometallics

  • Use bonding models (18 e- rule) to predict stability of organometallics.

  • Discuss differences in behaviour between 2nd and 3rd row transition metals and 1st row.

  • Solve problems through the application of basic knowledge and concepts

  • Analyse and interpret relevant data

  • Read and use appropriate literature

  • Plan and perform simple experiments in a responsible and safe manner.

Outline Syllabus

Approx lecture outline (flexible) 

  •  1-2: Overview of periodic table, trends moving left to right.  Groups 1, 2 and 13: e- configuration, oxidation states, impact on reactivity, General isolation/ extraction of elements and synthesis of simple compounds (halides/oxides and others of interest), highlighted with specific examples.  Revision where appropriate of bonding theory, orbital hybridisation, Lewis acidity/basicity.
  •  3-5:  Groups 14  18.  As above
  •  6-7: Extension of Crystal Field Theory from octahedral to other geometries, Jahn-Teller distortion, Ligand Field Theory, 18 electron rule.
  •  8-10: Bonding in metal complexes ( and ), concept of donors/acceptors, Dewar-Chatt-Duncanson model, survey of specific ligand types (CO, CN and similar, alkene, alkyne, alkyl, arene, allyl)
  •  11-12: Characteristic features of 2nd and 3rd row TransitionMetal chemistry, oxidation states, coordination numbers.

 

 Practicals: 

Synthesis and characterization of main-group compounds and transition-metal complexes

  • 1. Synthesis of Werner-style Co complexes
  • 2. Reactivity of Co2(CO)8
  • 3. Synthesis of Polyiodides, Me4NIx
  • 4. Interhalogen compounds (ICl3, ICl5

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

CHEM111: Skills for Chemists

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only
  • US Credits: 2 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits.  
  • Pre-requisites: No Pre-requisites

Course Description

The aim of the module is to develop core skills in basic mathematics, statistics, handling of scientific data, and communication of scientific information and data. The module serves as a foundation for subsequent modules in the natural sciences, both subject-specific and broader transferable skills-based.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

  • Carry out basic algebraic operations involving a variety of functions, vectors, and matrices.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the need for calculus and be able to differentiate and integrate simple functions.

  • Characterise data in terms of statistical measures including confidence limits and correlation.

  • Present experimental results/findings in the form of a structured laboratory report.

  • Communicate ideas, concepts and/or results in a written form.

  • Communicate ideas, concepts and/or results in an oral presentation

Outline Syllabus

The module will consist of a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops and practical’s carried out over 10 weeks covering the core mathematical and communication skills required for chemists.

Lectures and follow-up workshops will focus on mathematical skills; manipulating units, algebra, exponents, logarithms, statistics, trigonometry, geometry and calculus.  Seminars will cover scientific writing, plagiarism, presentations skills and library resources.

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100%

CHEM112: Spectroscopy and Analytical Chemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1-10 of Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 2 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: No Pre-requisites

Course Description

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the principles and practice of analytical chemistry, and to demonstrate the importance of chemical analysis and its interplay with mainstream chemistry. The course will seek to introduce the variety of instrumental techniques that underpin modern analysis, and to illustrate their utility through a range of challenging and interesting analysis applications.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Describe the principles that underpin analytical chemistry, with an understanding of the differences between absolute and instrumental techniques of chemical analysis.

  • Apply mathematical methods to analyse data and to assign a value to those data.

  • To understand how reagent chemistry plays a vital role in analysis through stoichiometric interactions ofmolecules and ions.

  • To understand the principles of the instrumental techniques of: spectrophotometry; spectrofluorimetry; atomicspectroscopy; mass spectrometry; electroanalysis; and analytical separations, including gas and liquid chromatography.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures

  • Introduction to Analytical Chemistry: The need for measurements; sampling and sample preparation; chemical analysis – absolute vs instrumental; calibration; units of concentration; unit conversions.
  • Quantitative Analytical Data: Errors; Precision; Accuracy; Analytical Standards; Standard reference Materials; Uncertainty and the role of statistics; calibration methods – calibration curves/standard addition/internal standards; Range and LOD; Preparation of standard solutions; the analytical balance; volumetric glassware.
  • Titrimetry: Examples – acid-base/metal chelation (EDTA)/precipitation; titrimetric calculations; equivalence points; titration curves; endpoint detection – indicators/spectrophotometric/conductometric/pH
  • Reagents for Analytical Chemistry: Metal chelates (ethylene diamine vs methylamine – binding constants); EDTA; metal-ligand equilibria; metal ion indicators (e.g. EB, MX, PAN); masking; crown ethers and cryptands; ionophores; calixarenes; cyclodextrins and Pirkle strands as chiral reagents.
  • Spectrophotometry: Definitions of Absorbance and Transmittance; the UV-Vis Spectrum; Beer-Lambert equation – molar absorptivity; Basic instrumentation – sources/cells/monochromators/detectors; examples of spectra and quantitation; spectrophotometric reagents; overlapping spectra; isosbestic points
  • Fluorescence: Jablonski  Energy Diagram – definition of singlet and triplet states – emission lifetimes; basic spectrometer configurations; quantitative luminescence measurements – quantum efficiency – self-absorption – quenching; molecular basis for fluorescence – fluorescent reagents; example assays - DNA, oxygen
  • Atomic Spectroscopy: Absorption/emission/fluorescence by atoms in a flame; atomic absorption – the hollow cathode lamp; flames/furnaces/plasmas; temperature and Bolzmann distribution; instrumentation and background correction; types of interference; detection limits; ICP-MS
  • Mass Spectrometry: The mass spectrum – examples; molecular ions and isotope patterns; basic fragmentation patterns; ionisation – EI, CI, ESI, MALDI; mass separators – magnetic sector, quad, TOF; detectors; ICP-MS
  • Electroanalysis: Electrodes, electrolytes cells and half-cells; potentiometry; Nernst equation; pH glass electrode; ISEs; ionophores and selectivity; voltammetry; amperometry; 3-electrode systems; dissolved chlorine measurement by amperometry.
  • Analytical Separations: Principles of chromatography – the chromatogram; capillary electrophoresis – the electropherogram; peak shapes and peak broadening; resolution; theoretical plates; SPE
  • Gas Chromatography: Column construction and chemistry; boiling point and stationary phase polarity as separation drivers; Carrier gases; the role of temperature and simple linear temperature programming; the time/resolution/sensitivity dilemma; sample introduction; detection – TCD, FID, MS
  • Liquid Chromatography: Column construction and stationary phase chemistry; stationary and mobile phase chemistries and sample partitioning; reversed-phase LC systems; HPLC instrumentation – samples and eluent solvents; detection –UV-Vis, DAD, MS

Practicals:

  • Analytical Titrations.
  • Quantitative reagent chemistry with spectrophotometry.
  • A selection of instrumental analytical tasks.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

CHEM113: Thermodynamics of Chemical Processes

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1-5 of Lent term only
  • US Credits: 2 US Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits
  • Pre-requisites:   High School Chemistry equivalent to UK A-level

Course Description

This module provides an introduction to the topic of chemical thermodynamics.  It covers all of the basic elements of classical thermodynamics and explains in detail the role of enthaply, entropy and free energy in a chemical reaction.  The relationship of free energy and equilibrium constant are discussed as are the effect of changes in temperature, pressure and composition on the position of equilibrium.  Areas related to thermodynamics such as phase equilibria and electrochemistry are also introduced and the inter-relationship of these topics with thermodynamics discussed.

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Display an understanding of core physical chemistry topics of thermodynamics, phase equilibria and electrochemistry. In particular, an understanding should have been gained of the inter-relationship of these topics.

  • Manipulate equations and solve mathematical problems that involve algebra, probability, and calculus

  • Present experimental results/findings in the form of a structured laboratory report.

  • Communicate ideas, concepts and results in written form.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures

  • Solutions, suspensions, colloids, diffusion 
  • Osmosis and osmotic pressure 
  • Reversible reactions and chemical equilibrium 
  • Acids, bases, pH, indicators, buffers 
  • Oxidation and reduction 
  • Energy changes in chemical reactions I, enthalpy and activation energy 
  • Energy changes in chemical reactions II, entropy and disorder 
  • Defining rate of reaction, rate laws 
  • Measuring rates of reactions 
  • Factors affecting the rate of reactions 
  • Catalysis and enzymes I 
  • Catalysis and enzymes II 

Practicals

  • This course also contains four practicals in weeks 1-4 and two seminars in weeks 3 and 4 illustrating the principles discussed in the lectures.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 25%
  • Test: 25%

CHEM114: Chemical Reaction Kinetics

  • Terms Taught:   This module runs in weeks 6-10 of Lent term only  
  • US Credits: 2 US Semester Credits
  • Pre-requisites:   High School Chemistry equivalent to UK A-level

Course Description

This module aims to give a complete overview of the theory and practice of chemical reaction kinetics. Students will acquire an understanding of the basic kinetic principles of simple reaction kinetics which will then be applied to determine orders of reaction, rate constants and activation energies from kinetic measurements. The module explores the relationship between temperature and rate and introduces the Arrhenius Equation. It then moves on to consider more advanced topics such as collision theory, transition state theory and the kinetics of complex reactions. You will be introduced to the steady state approximation and learn how to use this to derive rate laws of complex reactions.

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Derive rate equations and integrate simple rate equations for first and second order reactions.

  • Measure orders of reaction, rate constants and activation energies for chemical reactions.

  • Solve problems through the application of acquired knowledge and concepts

  • Analyse and interpret relevant data.  Read and use appropriate literature.  Plan and perform simple experiments in a responsible and safe manner.

Outline Syllabus

  • Lecture 1  General definitions. Stoichiometry vs mechanism. Dependence of rate on concentration.  Definition of rate constant and order of reaction.  

  • Lecture 2-3  Experimental determination of rates of reaction. Determination of orders from rate measurements.  Integrated rate equations for simple reaction types.

  • Lecture 4  Use of integrated rate equations to determine order. Fractional lives. Molecularity vs order. 

  • Lecture 5  Kinetics of complex reactions, parallel unimolecular reactions (competing reactions), consecutive unimolecular reactions.

  • Lecture 6  Effect of temperature on reaction rate.  Collision theory, Transition State Theory. 

  • Lecture 7  Steady State Approximation. 

  • Lecture 8  Viscosity effects.

  • Lecture 9  Catalysis, heterogeneous catalysis, homogeneous catalysis.

  • Lecture 10 Effect of pH.  Acid and base catalysis of esters.

  • Lecture 11 Enzyme catalysis, Michaelis-Menten kinetics.

  • Lecture 12 Kinetics of polymerisation.  Chain reactions. Explosions.

Course also contains 4 practicals and 2 seminars illustrating principles discussed in lectures.

Assessment Proportions

Exam: 50%

Coursework: 25%

Test: 25%

CHEM115: Physical Foundations of Chemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1 - 5 of Summer Term Only.  
  • US Credits: 2 Semester Credits.  
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: High school chemistry equivalent to UK A-level.

Course Description

The aim of this module is to expand upon the introductory mathematics in CHEM111, and to prepare students with knowledge, understanding and skills in basic calculus and the physical underpinnings of chemistry that will be built upon in subsequent courses and years.

Specifically, the module will introduce key concepts that relate to:

  • Describing fundamental laws of nature using mathematics 
  • Classical mechanics and its applications in chemistry.
  • Electromagnetic interactions and their fundamental relevance to chemistry.
  • The breakdown of classical mechanics and the quantisation of matter/ energy.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

  • Describe the fundamental process of modelling physical phenomena using mathematics and how new models are developed; and the “backwards compatibility” of new models.

  • Solve mathematical problems relevant to chemistry.

  • Solve simple, chemically relevant, calculus problems unaided, and more complex problems by computer-algebra techniques.

  • Describe the interactions of solid particles, and where this approximation is useful.

  • Demonstrate understanding of the drawbacks of solid-particles as a model in chemistry, and that electromagnetism is essential in the description of atoms and molecules.

  • Describe the fundamental interactions between electrons and nuclei, and between charged and neutral atoms and molecules.

  • Discuss the breakdown of classical mechanics when dealing with atoms and molecules.

  • Describe the basic consequences of the quantisation of matter.

  • Critically appraise the validity of physical models/ approximations.

  • Understand that matter and energy are quantised.

Outline Syllabus

Approximate lecture outline:

  • 1. Building physical models; describing the macroscopic world with maths, introduction to physical laws.
  • 2. Physical properties of particles; Newtons Laws of motion in one dimension.
  • 3-4. Introduction to rates of change differentiation, chain and product rules, implicit functions and their applications, higher order derivatives, Taylor series.
  • 5. Equations of motion techniques for understanding particle motion in several dimensions (including vectors and introduction to differential equations and boundary conditions).
  • 6-7. Average/ bulk properties; summation and integration, solving simple differential equations and the effect of boundary conditions. Applications in Chemistry, approximation of atoms as solid particles.
  • 8-9 Electricity and Magnetism, Coulombs law, fields and potentials, energetics in fields. Interacting particles and the structure of matter. Intermolecular forces.
  • 10. Particles or waves?  The breakdown of classical mechanics, and why we do not observe it in everyday life.
  • 11. The mathematical description of waves and the connection to the simple harmonic oscillator.
  • 12. The quantisation of energy and its implications. Properties of molecules as energy derivatives.

Practicals:

A series of three 2-hour-long Computer practicals will be used to highlight several key physical phenomena from the lectures, and to provide experience in the use of computers for solving complex mathematical problems:

  • 1. Computational techniques for solving complex mathematical problems (computer algebra). Application to derivation of kinetic theory of gases.
  • 2. Motion in electromagnetic fields, including basic introduction to Maxwells relations.
  • 3. Harmonic and anharmonic oscillators as a simple approximation in chemistry.

Tutorials: 

A series of 4 hour-long tutorials will be used to embed the important ideas from the course (starting in the 2nd week) and to provide guided practice with the mathematical content:

  •  1-2. Calculus
  • 3. Electromagnetism and chemistry 
  • 4. Quantisation

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

CHEM201: Alkene and Aromatic Chemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1-5 of Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 3 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM101, CHEM102, CHEM104

Course Description

The aim of this module is to build on the content covered in CHEM101, CHEM 102 and CHEM104 and provide students with knowledge, understanding and skills in the chemistry of alkene and aromatic compounds.

Specifically, the module will introduce and/or add to key concepts that relate to:

    • Synthesis and reactions of alkenes and alkynes
  • Electrophilic and nucleophilic substitution of aromatic compounds

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the synthesis and reactions of alkenes and alkynes

  • Demonstrate understanding of both electrophilic and nucleophilic substitution of aromatic compounds, such that they are able to produce suitable syntheses for poly-substituted aromatic compounds.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures 1-6 Alkene and Alkyne Chemistry:L1-2: Synthesis – Simple eliminations. Wittig, Julia and Peterson reactions. L3: Electrophilic Addition (Bromination, epoxidation, etc) L4: “Pericyclic” Reactions (Dihydroxylation, Ozonolysis, Hydroboration) L5: Radical Reactions L6: Nucleophilic Addition/Substitution of/to 1,3-unsaturated carbonyls

Lectures 7-12 Aromatic and Heteroaromatic Chemistry:L7: Aromaticity. Frost Circles and Huckel’s Rules L8: Electrophilic Aromatic Substitution of Benzene L9: Reactivity of Substituted Benzenes L10: Non-EArS Reactions of Substituted Benzenes (Diazonium, Nucleophilic Substitution, Benzyne) L11: Reactions of Pyridine

L12: Reactions of Furan, Pyrrole and Indole

4 x 8-hour practicals and 3 x 2-hour workshops will run through the module exemplifying reactions covered in lectures.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  15%
  • Practicals:  25%
  • Exam:  60%

CHEM203: Strategies for Chemical Synthesis

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in Weeks 1 - 5 of Lent Term only.
  • US Credits: 3 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM101, CHEM102 and CHEM104 and must take CHEM201

Course Description

This module is a second-year organic chemistry with the aim to equip the students with the following skills:

  • The ability to predict the reactivity of enol, enolate and specific enol equivalent chemistry in organic synthesis. The importance of reactivity, selectivity and mechanism will be emphasised throughout.
  • The ability to determine the conformers of acyclic organic molecules, their relative stability, and their reactivity in organic reactions.
  • The reactivity of conformers of acyclic and cyclic organic molecules will be understood in terms of concepts of reactivity and stereoelectronic control in organic reactions studied in previous modules.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the chemical features and reactivity of enols, enolates and specific enol equivalents in synthesis.

  • Critically apply the reactivity profiles of enolates and stable enol equivalents in unfamiliar chemical contexts.

  • Demonstrate the understanding of the conformations and configurations of acyclic and cyclic hydrocarbons.

  • Predict and rationalise the reactivity of functionalised six-membered rings by considering the stereoelectronic requirements of common organic reactions in combination with the conformational restrictions in cyclic systems.

  • Carry out basic practical procedures in synthetic organic chemistry safely and efficiently. 

  • Design solutions to problems through logical application of knowledge
  • Consolidate and critically apply of information from previously-studied organic chemistry modules.
  • Draw conclusions from the simultaneous analysis of multiple sources of data

Outline Syllabus

Enols, Enolates and Synthetic Enol Equivalents:

  • Introduction to enols and enolates, their stability and reactivity, including the aldol reaction.
  • Selective formation and alkylation of enolates and specific enol equivalents.
  • Selective and controlled aldol reactions.
  • Enolate acylation at carbon, including Claisen and Dieckmann cyclisation reactions.
  • Conjugate addition reactions of enols, enolates and specific enol equivalents.

Conformational Analysis:

  • Acyclic hydrocarbons: revision of stereochemistry, Newman projection, configuration, conformation and conformers, conformational profiles, conformer reactivity in E2 eliminations.
  • Cyclic hydrocarbons: contributions to strain, the conformations of small, medium, and large cyclic organic molecules, cyclohexane conformational profile and conformers, ring inversion.
  • Substituted cyclohexanes: stereoisomers and conformers; equilibria and locking groups, reactivity in E2, SN2, and ester hydrolysis reactions; neighbouring group effect, epoxide formation and ring contractions.
  • Cyclohexanone: conformation, reactivity in nucleophilic addition reactions, Felkin-Anh model.
  • Cyclohexene and cyclohexene epoxide: conformations, reactivity in electrophilic addition reactions and epoxide ring-opening reactions respectively; regio- and stereochemistry.
  • Bicyclic compounds: conformations and reactivity of cis- and trans-decalin and bridged bicycles, E2 and Bredt’s rule, exo and endo attack.
  • 6-Membered heterocycles: conformations, tetrahydropyran and anomeric effect.

This module has a practical course associated with it. This course comprises five experiments focusing on the synthesis of organic molecules based on chemical reactions covered in this module. This course will both consolidate previously encountered, and introduce new, practical techniques in modern synthetic chemistry. Analytical data analysis and interpretation will form an integral part of this course.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  15%
  • Practicals: 25%
  • Exam: 60%

CHEM204: Molecular Structure Determination

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 6 - 10 of Michaelmas Term only
  • US Credits: 3 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM101, CHEM102 and CHEM105

Course Description

The aim of this module is to provide students with the fundamental knowledge and skills to be able to determine the structures of molecules by analysis of spectroscopic data and be able to predict spectroscopic behaviour from a structure. Specifically, the module will introduce the key concepts that relate to:

  • IR spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, multinuclear NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography in the determination of structures of inorganic and organic molecules

  • 1H NMR spectroscopy as a means of gaining in-depth structural information on inorganic and organic molecules

  • The simultaneous application of all of the above physical techniques for the determination and confirmation of structure.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Extract from NMR spectra, and correctly report, spectroscopic information such as chemical shifts, multiplicity, and coupling constants
  • Predict the 1H, 13C and multinuclear NMR spectra of compounds. Make qualitative or comparative predictions of IR and UV-vis spectra for compounds.
  • Determine the structure of organic and inorganic compounds by interpretation of 1D and 2D multinuclear NMR spectroscopy, IR and UV-vis spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry.
  • Make calculations using unit cell data and be able to identify the different crystal systems and bravais lattices.
  • Use Miller indices to describe planes in crystals and calculate spacings between planes
  • Identify symmetry elements present in 2D, and be able to identify symmetry elements that are present by the space group.
  • Qualitatively relate real and reciprocal space.

Outline Syllabus

The aim of this module is to provide students with the fundamental knowledge and skills to be able to determine the structures of molecules by analysis of spectroscopic data and be able to predict spectroscopic behaviour from a structure. Specifically, the module will introduce the key concepts that relate to:

  • IR spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, multinuclear NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography in the determination of structures of inorganic and organic molecules

  • 1H NMR spectroscopy as a means of gaining in-depth structural information on inorganic and organic molecules

  • The simultaneous application of all of the above physical techniques for the determination and confirmation of structure.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  40%
  • Exam:  60%

CHEM211: The Physical Principles of Spectroscopy

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in Weeks 1-5 of Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 3 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM112 and CHEM241

Course Description

To build upon and consolidate the knowledge of spectroscopic methods that have been introduced in earlier years, and to explain the physical origins of the techniques. To expand the students' skills to rationalisation of observed spectra in terms of the underlying chemical/ physical properties of the molecules and techniques, and to help students to understand more complex spectra.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • understand the fundamental interaction between EM radiation and matter, and its implications for the observance of diverse spectra
  • understand the benefits and drawbacks of individual techniques: X-ray for electronic ionisation, UV/Vis for electronic transitions, IR/ NIR and Raman for vibrations and rotations, NMR and ESR for spin transitions luminescence as a time-dependent probe. Imaging techniques as a spatial probe
  • recall the differences in the relevant instrumentation, and be able to operate instruments to produce useful spectra for subsequent interpretation
  • relate the observed spectra to the underlying physical principles

Outline Syllabus

Lectures

  • Introduction to the electromagnetic spectrum. Understanding EM radiation as a source of energy, and its interaction with matter, together with how this gives rise to a diverse range of spectra associated with different energies of spectroscopic transition. Introduce Jablonski diagrams as a mechanism of relating the energies of the different transition types, energy transfer mechanisms, the fundamental physical principles of this interaction, e.g. selection rules and observance of transitions (intensities and linewidths), Fourier transform techniques and Fellgett's advantage regarding signal to noise ratios.
  • Atomic spectroscopy. One-electron and pseudo one-electron atoms, term symbols, absorbance and emission, atomic fluorescence, spin-orbit coupling, selection rules.
  • X-ray based spectroscopic techniques, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence.
  • UV//Vis Franck-Condon principle, charge-transfer, interorbital transitions, absorbance vs emission, term symbols, circular dichroism.
  • IR and NIR techniques. Molecular vibrations, normal modes, linear vs general polyatomic molecules, vibrations, rotational spectroscopy, inertia of molecules and rotors, selection rules, vib-rot spectra.
  • Raman Principles, observance and selection rules.
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Fourier transform techniques, the origins of chemical shifts (diamagnetic and paramagnetic shielding, neighbouring group anisotropy etc) and spin-spin couplings (Fermi contact and dipole-dipole), weak and strong coupling, line widths and relaxation.
  • ESR/EPR Physical origins, hyperfine interactions and g values, applications.
  • Luminescence Emission, spin-orbit coupling, triplet vs singlet emission, singlet vs triplet, quantum yields, lifetimes, quenching, excimers.
  • Introduction to spectroscopic imaging. Applications of NMR (MRI), luminescence, Raman and FTIR to imaging, optical techniques and EDAX (energy-dispersive x-ray analysis).

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  35%
  • Exam:  65%

CHEM212: Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 6-10 of Michaelmas term only
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM111 and CHEM113

Course Description

This module aims to develop a critical understanding of chemical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, focusing on concepts and their application in understanding chemical driving forces and stability.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the concepts of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.
  • Apply the first and second laws of thermodynamics to chemical reactions and use appropriate thermodynamic quantities including enthalpy, entropy, and chemical work to identify whether a reaction occurs spontaneously or not.
  • Calculate entropy changes given latent heats of phase change and heat capacity data as a function of temperature.
  • Calculate entropy using the its statistical description
  • Explain the molecular partition function and its significance
  • Describe basic principles of molecular simulation methods and their application in understanding chemical behaviour at the molecular level.

Outline Syllabus

  • BASICS:  System and surroundings; Isolated, open and closed systems;  Extensive and intensive properties; Equilibrium, change and reversibility; Spontaneous change; Conserved quantities; Thermodynamic driving forces; Degrees of freedom & constraints;  Potential energy surfaces and equilibrium. 

  • IDEAL GAS LAWS:  Macrostate variables; Molecular view of pressure and kinetic theory of gases; Temperature and the Zeroth Law; Perfect gas laws and equation of state surfaces; Real gases, virial coefficients and van der Waals equation of state. 
  • INTERNAL ENERGY, HEAT AND WORK:  Equilibrium in mechanical systems; Reversible and irreversible processes; Internal energy; Work; Expansion work in chemical systems; Interconversion of heat and work; Path functions and inexact differentials.
  • THE CARNOT CYCLE:  Heat engines; Work done in reversible and irreversible processes; Work done in a cycle, in an adiabatic process, and in an isothermal process. Carnot cycle; Efficient of a Carnot engine; Refrigeration; 
  • ENTHALPY:  Definition of enthalpy; Exothermic and endothermic processes; Units, conventions, and standard conditions; Hess's Law; Enthalpies of physical change. 
  • HEAT CAPACITY:  Heat capacity at constant volume and at constant pressure; Storage of thermal energy at the molecular level; Equipartition theorem;  Relationship between Cv and Cp; Heat capacity of a perfect monoatomic gas; Heat capacity of solids and Dulong-Petit Law; Variation of heat capacity with temperature; Kirchhoff's Law and effect of temperature on enthalpy; Measurement of enthalpy.
  • ENTROPY:  Driving force for spontaneous change; Statements of the 2nd Law; Thermodynamic definition of entropy; Clausius inequality; Entropy change; Statistical definition of entropy; 2nd Law and time; The 3rd Law; Determination of entropy.
  • FREE ENERGIES AND CHEMICAL POTENTIAL:  Partial and total derivatives; Gibbs and Helmholtz free energies and their relationship to work; Fundamental free energy equation; Free energy and equilibrium; Temperature dependence of equilibrium constant K; Free energy-Temperature phase diagrams and phase transitions; Clapeyron equation. Chemical potential and its significance; Free energy from experiment. 
  • MICROSTATES:  Introduction to statistical thermodynamics; Concept of phase space; Macroscopic parameters and thermodynamic ensembles; Concept of ensemble and the ergodic theorem; Macrostates and microstates for quantized and classical systems; Statistical definition of entropy; Calculating number of microstates and Stirling's formula; The predominant macrostate and Boltzmann's distribution of particles over energy levels.
  • PARTITION FUNCTION 1:  Definition, significance and characteristics of the partition function; The molecular partition function; Degeneracy of quantum states: energy levels and energy states; The canonical partition function; Distinguishability of particles; Two-state system; Characteristic temperature; Thermodynamic quantities in terms of Q; Translational partitional function; Properties of the ideal monoatomic gas from Q. 
  • PARTITION FUNCTION 2:  Energy levels of the various modes; Rotational partition function; Energies of vibrational modes and the vibrational partition function; The electronic partition function; Partition function of a classical system; Challenge of evaluating the configuration integral; density of states.
  • MOLECULAR INTERACTIONS:  Molecular interactions at the molecular mechanics level and force field calculations; Bond stretch energy; Angle bending energy; Dihedral energy; Coulombic interactions; van der Waals interactions and the Lennard Jones model; Hydrogen bonding; Potential energy calculation of an assembly of molecules. Thermodynamic cycles.
  • MOLECULAR SIMULATION:  Molecular mechanics approximation and potential energy; Force fields: form and parameters; Potential energy minimisation (structure optimisation); Monte Carlo methods; Random and importance sampling; Molecular dynamics simulation; Periodic boundaries; Temperature & pressure regulation; Constraints and cut-offs; Ergodicity and equilibration; Challenges of time and length scales; Applications.

Assessment Proportions

  • Practicals:  20%
  • Test:  10%
  • Seminar Input:  10%
  • Exam:  60%

CHEM218: Electrochemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module run in weeks 6-10 of Lent term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ETCS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM113 and CHEM114

Course Description

This course is designed to give the student the basic understanding of electrochemical processes, from both a thermodynamic and kinetic perspective, as well as in applied experimental research.

Electrochemistry is often considered to be a discipline at the interface of the branches of chemistry and other sciences. Principally defined as the study of the movement of charge, the extension of electrochemistry into all aspects of chemistry, as well as biology, biochemistry, physics, and engineering is evident. It is a core physical chemistry subject however, providing access to fundamental thermodynamic and kinetic properties of chemical process. The students will learn the governing process in equilibrium (thermodynamic) and electrolytic (kinetic) electrochemical cells. Practical methods of analysis will be developed, as well as approaches to interpret chemical reactions and gain insight to catalytic processes. Finally the student will explore the basics of electrochemical power conversion and storage, electroanalysis and electrosynthesis.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Understand the widespread nature of electrochemical processes (corrosion, batteries, nerve propagation etc) and the fundamental principles behind these processes. 
  • Understand and perform basic calculations relating to the thermodynamic principles of electrochemical cells. This includes knowing standard cell notation, determination of cell potential, and demonstrating understanding of potentiometric devices.
  • Describe the electrified interface with respect to known models.
  • Interpret the Butler Volmer equation and relate it to reversible and irreversible electrode processes, and Tafel analysis.
  • Explain the modes and influence of mass transport in electrochemical systems.
  • Provide qualitative interpretation of voltammetric data, particularly cyclic voltammograms. Calculate diffusion coefficients using voltammetric data.
  • Discuss a range of electrochemical power conversion and storage systems, in relation to the processes in the cells, the mode of energy storage, their advantages and weaknesses.
  • Outline key electroanalytical techniques and give an account of well-known electrochemical sensors.

Outline Syllabus

This module will cover Electrochemistry in its broadest sense (often defined as the study of the movement of charge) which encompasses both traditional and modern aspects of chemistry, as well as biology, biochemistry, physics, and other areas of science. The fundamentals of equilibrium electrochemistry will lead into dynamic systems and modern and emerging applications in analytical electrochemistry. There will be an emphasis throughout on the underlying chemistry (and fundamental science) behind electrochemical reactions, systems and devices.

Equilibrium electrochemistry:

  • Electrochemical thermodynamics
  • Nernst cell
  • Standard potentials
  • Activity, activity coefficients, Debye-Hückel Theory
  • Electrified interfaces and Double Layer Capacitance
  • Potentiometric methods

Dynamic electrochemistry:

  • Electrolysis
  • Electrode kinetics
  • Butler-Volmer and Tafel analysis
  • Migration of ions
  • Voltammetry
  • Transition state theory and Marcus theory
  • Catalysis

Applied Electrochemistry:

  • Sensors
  • Power sources
  • Synthesis

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 40%

Exam: 60%

CHEM222: Organometallics, Catalysis and Mechanism

  • Terms Taught: This module run in weeks 6-10 of Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM101, CHEM102, CHEM103, CHEM104, CHEM105

Course Description

The module aims to cover the basic concepts and principles of organometallic chemistry and to introduce students to the structures, bonding, synthesis and properties of a representative range of organotransition metal complexes containing carbon-based ligands of different hapticities. Ligand substitution, oxidative-addition, reductive-elimination, migratory insertion, beta-H elimination and nucleophilic attack on coordinated ligands are introduced as key reaction types in organometallic chemistry. An introduction to catalytic processes involving transition metal intermediates is introduced in the final part of the module. The aim is to give students an understanding of how the above reaction types operate within the mechanisms of catalytic cycles.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Name and classify ligands present in organometallic complexes and apply electron counting rules to predict complex stability

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the structure, bonding and reactivity patterns typical of organometallic complexes containing carbonyl, phosphine, hydride, alkyl and cyclic and acyclic p-bound ligands.

  • Describe and/or predict likely mechanisms for reactions and catalytic processes involving organotransition metal intermediates.

  • Safely perform synthetic procedures following laboratory methods.

Outline Syllabus

  • Lectures  1-3: Introduction. Ligand hapticity and h-notation. Metal carbonyls: structures, synthetic routes and 18 electron rule. Pi-backbonding, terminal and bridging bonding modes. C-O stretching frequencies. Reactivity of binary carbonyls. Phosphine ligands: electronic and steric effects, origin of p-acceptor capability. N-heterocyclic carbenes as spectator ligands. Electron counting rules and ligand classification. Ligand substitution reactions: dissociative/associative pathways.
  • Lectures 4-6: Alkene and alkyne complexes: structure, bonding, synthesis and reactivity. Alkyl complexes: stability, decomposition routes and kinetic stabilization. a- and b-hydrogen elimination. Synthetic routes to alkyl complexes. Oxidative addition and reductive elimination. Reactions of alkyls. Alkyl and hydride migrations: 1,1- and 1,2-migratory insertion reactions
  • Lectures 7-9: Complexes of higher hapticity ligands. Structure, bonding and dynamic processes in allyl, diene and cyclopentadienyl complexes. Syntheses and reactions including nucleophilic attack (Davies-Green-Mingos rules) and electrophilic attack (protonation and agostic interactions)
  • Lectures 9-12: Organometallics and homogeneous catalysis. Steps in catalytic cycles and Tolman’s rule. Selected examples of catalytic cycles are discussed in detail including alkene hydrogenation, alkene hydroformylation, methanol carbonylation, alkene polymerization and metathesis.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  50%
  • Exam:  50%

CHEM224: Advanced Coordination Chemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in Weeks 6-10 of Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM101, CHEM102, CHEM103, CHEM104, CHEM105  

Course Description

The aim of this module is to explore the coordination chemistry, solution equilibria and electronics and bonding of metals and metalloids. Specifically the module will introduce key concepts relating to:-

  • Solution behaviour of metal ions, and the behaviour of ions in solution;

  • Trends in and examples of 2nd and 3rd row transition metal chemistry;

  • Metal-metal bonding, metal clusters, borane and related cages and clusters;

  • The coordination chemistry, electronic structure and spectroscopy of the 2nd and 3rd row transition metals.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Explain the behaviour of simple ions in solution including the use of formation constants
  • Explain and predict the structures of cages and clusters
  • Explain the chemical, structural and spectroscopic behaviour of the 2nd and 3rd row transition elements.
  • Write practical reports in a professional manner
  • Interpret data presented as spectra

Outline Syllabus

Advanced d-block coordination chemistry:

  • Spectroscopy of d-block complexes; aspects of NMR & IR relevant to the d-block; advanced electronic spectra, d-d and charge transfer transitions, emissive complexes, spin orbit coupling.
  • Solution speciation of d-block complexes; inner vs outer sphere coordination, mechanisms of ligand exchange; kinetic and thermodynamic parameters;
  • Coordination chemistry of the  heavier d-elements; general trends and selected examples, structures and reactivity, coordination number > 6 and non-Oh complexes.

Inorganic clusters, rings and chains:

  • Electron precise systems systems including borazine, sulphur nitrides, phosphazenes, aluminosilcates and silicones.
  • Electron deficient systems such as boranes, carboranes, Wades rules, bonding theory in complex main group molecules.
  • Isolobal relaitionships.
  • Metal-metal bonding; multiple M-M bonds, carbonyl clusters.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  25%
  • Practical:  25%
  • Exam:  50%

CHEM233: Solids, Soft Matter and Surface

  • Terms Taught:   This module runs in Weeks 6-10 of Lent Term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM105 and must take CHEM212

Course Description

This module introduces students to the bulk and surface properties of hard and soft matter and is aimed at exploring the behaviour and characterisation of these different types of solids. The material properties of each unique class will be understood through the application of chemical concepts learned in previous modules and will be linked to the action of intermolecular forces such as ionic, covalent, hydrogen bonding, and van der Waals. Basic bonding theories for hard solids such as free electron theory and molecular orbital (band) theory will be introduced and linked to properties such as the magnetic and electrical conductivity. The properties of soft materials will be understood in terms of structure -property relationships and typical characterisation techniques will be introduced.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the structure of solids, surfaces and soft matter and how the structure relates to the physical properties of these materials
  • Understand the application of various characterization techniques and recognise why they are suited to different types of materials
  • Demonstrate understanding of mechanical, optical, magnetic, and electrical properties of materials and their surfaces.
  • Describe applications of hard and soft matter and their surfaces

Outline Syllabus

Solid Materials (Weeks 11-13): This section of the course will discuss different molecular interactions responsible for the formation of solids in terms of their electronic structure and focus on their electrical, mechanical, magnetic and optical properties. In particular we will look at:

  • Introdution to electric properties of molecules such as electric dipole moments and polarizabilities

  • What holds molecular assemblies together? An account of intermolecular forces and different types of bonding such as ionic, covalent, hydrogen bonding, and van der Waals bonds.

  • Basic bonding theories for solids such as free electron theory and molecular orbital (band) theory and how these bonding models describe the electrical conductivities of solids.

  • Mechanical, electrical and magnetic properties of solids. An account of different physical properties of solids and their relation to their atomic structure.

  • Introduction to optical properties of solids, light absorption and emission in solids, and examples of applications such as Ligth Emitting Diodes (LED), Solar Cells and Lasers.

Surfaces (Weeks 14-16): This section of the course introduces the area of surfaces in chemistry. We will cover: surface properties and their interaction with gases and liquids; surface structure and symmetry; surface characterisation; and surface catalytic reactions. Understandings gained here will allow us to answer the key questions of what is a surface, why are they important and how can we use them?

Soft Matter (Weeks 17-19): This section of the course will introduce the concept of soft matter and focus on the unique structure and properties of macromolecules. In particular, the following topics are covered:

  • The classification of polymers.

  • The statistical nature of polymer chains: Molecular weight and weight distributions, how to calculate Mn, Mw, and polydispersity values for model polymer distributions.

  • An introduction of the principles of chain growth and step growth polymerisation.

  • The thermal phase behaviour of polymers – in particular the glass transition temperature and how structural features control Tg.

  • The composition, constitution, and configuration of polymers and how they influence polymer properties.

  • The random coil character of polymer chains, and equations related to their end-to-end distance.

  • Polymer morphologies and how they relate to macromolecular structure and thermal and mechanical properties.

  • Blockcopolymers, in particular morphologies of linear diblock copolymers, their dependence on block volume fractions and curvature.

  • Phase segregation and the segregation product in linear block copolymers.

  • An introduction to the mechanical properties of different classes of polymers.

  • The unique elasticity observed in rubber elastic polymers and the thermodynamic principles governing their behaviour.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  40%
  • Exam:  60%

CHEM241: Quantum Chemistry, Symmetry and Group Theory

  • Terms Taught:   This module runs in Weeks 1-10 of Michaelmas Term only.
  • US Credits: 4 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM112 and CHEM115

Course Description

The aim of this module is to introduce the principles and techniques of theoretical, or quantum, chemistry. Specifically, it will introduce the quantisation of matter, the Schrodinger equation, various Hamiltonians representing different physical models, including the Coulombic molecular Hamiltonian. It will also provide an introduction to the mathematical and computational techniques required to solve the complex mathematical problems that arise in theoretical chemistry.

Alongside this, symmetry and its fundamental importance in understanding molecular orbital theory, interpreting spectroscopic observations and the shapes of molecules will also be introduced.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Justify that chemical phenomena that cannot be explained without quantum mechanics.
  • Explain that quantisation arises naturally in bound or confined systems.
  • Identify and explain the fundamental components of the Schrodinger equation.
  • Illustrate how given solutions can satisfy the Schrodinger equation for various types of Hamiltonian, and how the solutions relate to chemical properties (students will not be expected to derive solutions independently).
  • Summarize the fundamental connection between quantum mechanics and spectroscopy.
  • Solve simple mathematical problems involving complex numbers, matrices and linear algebra techniques, including simple eigenvalue equations. Demonstrate an ability to use computational techniques to solve more complex mathematical problems.
  • Assign the point group of a molecule, and the symmetry of its electronic state and simple vibrational modes.
  • Combine atomic orbitals into symmetry adapted orbitals.
  • Perform symmetry reductions.

Outline Syllabus

This module is designed to introduce theoretical, or quantum, chemistry, together with some of the fundamental mathematical techniques that underpin this subject. Quantum mechanics, symmetry and group theory all form part of this course. The module will consist of two linked lecture courses; quantum mechanics and linear/ matrix algebra, alongside symmetry and group theory.

The quantum course begins by introducing chemical phenomena that cannot be explained using classical mechanics, such as atomic spectroscopy, tunnelling and 3-centre, 2 electron bonds. Quantisation will be introduced, as naturally arising from bound (confined) systems. The Schrodinger equation will be introduced, together with various Hamiltonians, including the potentials for particle in a box, and atomic Coulombic interactions. The solution of the SE for various Hamiltonians will be demonstrated, together with their properties and relationships to atomic spectroscopy and electronic transitions. 

The SHO and Coulombic Hamiltonian for molecular systems will then be introduced, allowing concepts such as rotational and vibrational quantisation to be discussed. The solution of the Schrodinger Equation for various one- and two-electron molecules will be demonstrated, connecting with the observed physical properties of the molecules. The connection between energy derivatives and molecular properties will be stressed, and spin, angular momentum and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle will be connected to the mathematical structure that underpins them.

The course will, alongside the chemistry content, introduce the mathematical techniques required to understand and appreciate solutions to the Schrodinger equation. This includes matrices and matrix algebra, basic linear algebra, eigenvector equations and their solution, a discussion of differential equations and energy derivatives. The use of computers as essential tools in solving the complex mathematical problems that arise in theoretical chemistry will also be examined.

The symmetry and group theory course will introduce symmetry at a molecular structure level (related to the shapes of molecules). Point group symmetry, symmetry elements and operations, and the classification of molecules into point groups will be discussed. Reducible and irreducible symmetry representations will be introduced, together with the use of character tables to aid in the understanding of the symmetry properties. The reduction of symmetry will also be introduced. This will be followed by the application of symmetry to spectroscopy, for example, assigning the symmetry of the motion of vibrational modes of molecules and understanding the observation of modes in IR spectroscopy. The symmetry of molecular orbitals will be introduced, as will generating symmetry adapted combinations of atomic orbitals, and the symmetry assignment of the electronic states of a molecule.

Again, the basic mathematical techniques required to understand the combination of symmetry elements and their relationship to groups and group theory will be introduced alongside the material.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  35%
  • Exam:  65%

CHEM301: Advanced Synthetic Chemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1-10 of Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM104, CHEM201 and CHEM203

Course Description

  • The main aims of this module are to introduce the various types of selectivity present in organic reactions, description of the methods and strategies to control selectivity, and the discussion of the importance of frontier molecular orbitals in organic reactivity.

More specifically, the first part of this module will discuss three main types of selectivity in organic chemistry: chemoselectivity, in which two or more functional groups can react; regioselectivity, in which a functional group can react in more than one way; and stereoselectivity, in which the formation of one stereoisomer of the product is preferred over the other. You will be able to competently recognise selectivity issues in reactions and make an informed choice of synthetic methods to control the outcome of the reaction.

Following the discussion of selectivity, attention will turn to stereoelectronic effects in synthesis, which will enable you to predict how orbital arrangement in space affects the reactivity of organic molecules. Focus will be given to frontier molecular orbitals and their overlap in organic reactions. A broad range of new orbital-controlled reactions will be introduced. In addition to broadening your knowledge of contemporary synthetic methods, you will also be able to appreciate which molecular orbitals are involved in chemical reactions and, by considering their overlap, predict whether the desired reaction process is likely to take place.

A variety of examples will be used to illustrate all of the concepts, building on the understanding of organic chemistry modules discussed in Year 2, and gradually introducing new reactions, reagents and synthetic strategies.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Using curly arrows and an appropriate rationale, predict the outcome of a range of chemoselective, regioselective and stereoselective reactions.
  • Identify chemo-, regio- and stereoselectivity issues in synthesis.
  • Rationally predict which selective chemical methods should be used to perform a specific chemical transformation.
  • By considering stereoelectronic effects in synthesis, predict the feasibility and outcome of a variety of orbital-controlled reactions, including cyclisations, eliminations, rearrangements and fragmentations.
  • Describe the synthesis, and predict the reactivity of, carbenes, carbenoids and nitrenes.
  • By considering the overlap of appropriate molecular orbitals and using Woodward Hoffmann rules, predict the feasibility and outcome of pericyclic reactions: cycloaddition reactions, sigmatropic rearrangements, electrocyclic reactions and group transfer reaction processes.

Outline Syllabus

This core module will build on the concepts of organic chemistry covered in Year 2, and will discuss two key areas of organic chemistry and synthesis:

  • The first part of this module will focus on the control of various types of selectivity involved in reactions of organic molecules. The following concepts will be introduced: (a) chemoselectivity - which functional group reacts, (b) regioselectivity - which part of a functional group reacts,  and (c) stereoselectivity - which stereoisomer is obtained. In this context, modern synthetic methods and approaches to efficiently control chemo-, regio- and stereoselectivity in organic reactions will be discussed.
  • The second part of the module concerns the profound effect of orbital overlap on organic reactivity. With this in mind, following a reminder of frontier molecular orbital (FMO) theory, orbital-controlled elimination, fragmentation and rearrangement reactions will be introduced. FMO theory will then be used to rationalise the outcome and selectivity of pericyclic reaction processes.

Assessment Proportions

  • 60% Exam

  • 40% Coursework

CHEM311: Biological Chemistry and Chemical Biology

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 11-15 Lent term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites:  Chemistry, Biochemistry majors only

Course Description

This module will introduce fundamental biological processes and concepts from a chemical perspective. It will build upon the theory of physical, organic and inorganic chemistry, and the spectroscopic and analytical methods taught in earlier modules, to provide mechanistic understanding of important biological processes including DNA replication, trancription and translation, protein folding and biocatalysis. Examples will be given of how chemistry can contribute to our understanding of living organisms and the treatment of disease.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Apply their knowledge of organic, physical and inorganic chemistry to explain the properties of biological molecules and the mechanisms of the biological processes to which they contribute.

  • Use computational methods to visualise the three-dimensional structures of biomolecules (proteins, nucleic acids).

  • Retrieve and review information from scientific resources (books, journals and databases). Interpret information in graphical form.
  • Appreciate the role that chemistry plays in modern biological science.

Outline Syllabus

  • Chemical building blocks of life (nucleotides, amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids);

  • Mechanisms of DNA replication, transcription and translation;
  • Introduction to protein structure and properties;
  • Proteins in action; enzyme mechamisms; transition state structures;
  • Visualizing biomolecular structures: analytical, spectroscopic and computational techniques;
  • Nanoparticles in biology;
  • Selected aspects of the role of metals in biology

Assessment Proportions

  • 70% Exam

  • 30% Coursework

CHEM314: Advanced Spectroscopy: Theory and Applications

  • Terms Taught: Lent term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM112 and CHEM211

Course Description

To gain an in depth understanding of conventional Raman spectroscopy and more advanced Raman techniques, instrumentation and real world applications. To gain a general understanding of theory and application of luminescence, NMR, CD, EPR and LIBS. To appreciate the range of spectroscopic techniques available, and critically evaluate their application to chemical research.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Explain FTIR and Raman theory, instrumentation and sample requirements

  • Describe Raman methods used to enhance Raman scattering including SERS, SERRS and resonance Raman.

  • Implement standard approaches for interpretation and analysis of Raman spectra.

  • Discuss further Raman techniques including ROA, SORS, CARS, and TERS and the range of applications of Raman spectroscopy.

  • Describe the principles and applications of FTIR, luminescence spectroscopy, NMR, CD, EPR and LIBS

  • Interpret and analyse a range of spectral data.

Outline Syllabus

The course will consist of the following:

  • Introduction and theory of Raman and FTIR spectroscopy

  • FTIR and Raman instrument and sampling requirements

  • Advanced Raman techniques (TERS, CARS, SORS, ROA) including enhancements (SERS, SERRS, Resonance Raman)

  • Rapidly developing application of Raman spectroscopy, clinical, graphene, imaging, pharmaceutical

  • Principles and application of Luminescence, NMR, CD, EPR, LIBS

Assessment Proportions

  • 60% Exam

  • 20% Coursework

  • 20% Practical

CHEM321: Further Inorganic Chemistry: f-block and metals in biology

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1-10 in Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM222 and CHEM224

Course Description

This module introduces the f-block elements and provides an understanding of their chemistry, highlighting their increasing importance technologically. Students will compare and contrast the f block element behaviour with that of the metals of the s and d blocks.

This module also details the the importance of metals in biological processes. Students will develop an understanding of inorganic chemistry within a biological context.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

  • Rationalise the chemistry of the f elements based on their electronic structure.
  • Predict the outcomes of reactions involving f elements/compounds.
  • Explain why the chemistry of the f elements differs from that of the s and d block.
  • Use knowledge of underlying inorganic chemical principles to discuss the chemistry of metals in biological processes, for example the co-ordination chemistry of iron in the function of haemoglobin.
  • Explain why particular metals and ligands are suitable for certain process.

Outline Syllabus

Chemistry of the f-block:

General introduction to lanthanides and actinides, their place in the periodic table, electronic configurations, shape and nature of the f orbitals; extraction and isolation; elemental forms, oxidation states; halides and oxides, divalent and multivalent compounds; magnetism, spectroscopy, coordination chemistry, recent developments, lanthanide shift reagents, nuclear reactors, general comparisons of chemistry with s and d block metals.

Metals in biology:

Introduction to coordination chemistry of metals in biology, and relating this to the specific tasks, e.g. reversible oxygen binding, rapid electron transfer, catalysis.

Reversible oxygen binding (haemoglobin, myoglobin, Cu alternatives)

How metals are acquired, transported and stored (illustrated specifically for Fe)

Protein conformation (Ca signalling, Zn fingers)

Electron transfer (Fe porphyrins, Fe/S clusters, Blue Cu centres)

Catalysis (illustrated specifically for Zn and Co)

Small molecule activation (e.g. nitrogenases)

Photosynthesis

Assessment Proportions

  • 60% Exam

  • 40% Coursework

CHEM333: Solids, Surfaces and Soft Materials II

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1-5 of Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM201, CHEM211, CHEM212 and  CHEM233

Course Description

The module will convey to students the chemical structure, properties and applications of hard and soft materials that are at the core of a range of modern technologies.

Specifically, the module will provide students with key concepts that link the structure of molecular/nanoscale building blocks to the organisation in the bulk and at surfaces; and will provide understanding on how manipulation at the molecular level enables control of this organisation and the resulting material properties.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the structure of (hard and soft) materials and their surfaces, their stability, and how the structure relates to physical properties and applications.
  • Appreciate characterisation techniques in the analysis of materials and their surfaces.
  • Rationalise how composition, molecular structure and mesoscopic architecture imparts bulk properties on hard and soft materials and their surfaces.
  • Demonstrate understanding of optical, magnetic, and electrical properties of materials and their surfaces.
  • Describe applications that are based on the properties of hard and soft materials and their surfaces.

Outline Syllabus

Hard Materials:

This section of the course will discuss bonding in solids in terms of their electronic structure and focus on their electronic and optical properties. In particular we will look at:

  • Basic bonding theories for solids such as free electron theory and molecular orbital (band) theory and how these bonding models describe the electrical conductivities of solids.

  • Semiconductors and doping. Introduction to solid-state devices such as light emitting diodes (LED), solid state lasers and solar cells which are all based on semiconductor solids.

  • Introduction to optical properties of solids, absorption and emission in solids, refraction of light, and examples of applications such as optical fibres, photonic crystals and nanomaterials

  • Basic magnetic properties of solids and introduction to superconductors.

 

Soft Materials:

This section of the course will discuss the nature of self-organised soft materials, in particular colloidal systems. The following topics will be covered:

  • Recap of basic concepts in soft matter, polymers, and self-organisation in block-copolymers, the general nature and classes of colloids.

  • Colloidal stability: aggregation, inter-particle forces, electrical double layer, DLVO theory, steric stabilisation.

  • Association colloids: surfactants, films at liquid interfaces, micelle formation and critical micelle concentration, influencing factors.

  • From colloidal micelles to lyotropic liquid crystals: influencing factors on micelle shape, spherical micelles, cylinders and lamellar slabs, lyotropic liquid crystal phases, phase diagrams.

 

Surfaces:

This section of the course focuses on the physical processes that occur at the chemical surface. We will look at:

  • Thermodynamics: Surface energy, work, surface free energy, temperature dependence, two component systems, aggregation, heat of adsorption.

  • Dynamics and Kinetics: Surface vibrations and phonons, mean square displacement, vibration of adatoms, adsorption energy transfer, surface diffusion, mechanisms, desorption, TPD, SIMs, ESDIAD.

  • Electrical Properties: Surface electron potential, surface spare charge, electric double layer,work function, adsorption and charge transfer, surface ionisation, surface density of states, electron excitation, HREELs, XPS, AES, field ionisation, field electron excitation.

Assessment Proportions

  • 70% Exam

  • 30% Coursework

CHEM341: Core Computational Chemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 6-10 of Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM241

Course Description

This module introduces students to core computational theory and practical applications:

  • the basic theoretical concepts behind quantum, molecular mechanics and coarse grain approaches;
  • the applications and applicability of these approaches for different research questions;
  • the practical application and experience of each technique;

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Describe the core computational approaches.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical principles underlying each core computational approach.
  • Understand the application of the core computational techniques to different research questions.
  • Run a simple example calculation of each of the respective approaches.
  • Understand the limitations of each of the respective approaches.

Outline Syllabus

This module will introduce the concepts and practical applications of computational chemistry.The theoretical basic principles of the different core approaches taken will be covered, inlcuding: quantum techniques, molecular mechanics and coarse grain simulations. A broad understanding and experience in the practical applications of these methods will be gained, such as calculating or simulating electronic structure or bulk properties.

Assessment Proportions

  • 60% Exam

  • 40% Coursework

CHEM351: Investigation of Chemical Mechanisms and Experimental Design

  • Terms Taught:  This module runs in weeks 11-15 of Lent term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM201, CHEM204, CHEM222 and CHEM224

Course Description

The aim of this module is to introduce students to mechanistic investigation using well known examples from inorganic, organometallic and organic and biochemistry to teach the techniques used in mechanistic investigation. As this is an area in which the connection between observation and conclusion is sometimes difficult to see, a brief introduction to experimental design and critical analysis of mechanistic chemistry is included as well as more detailed discussion of spectroscopy, structural analysis and the physical basis of mechanistic chemistry.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Draw conclusions about reaction mechanisms from spectroscopic, kinetic or thermodynamic data.

  • Predict the products derived from different reaction mechanisms for a given set of reactants.

  • Predict the effect of changes in conditions on the rates and products of reactions for different reaction mechanisms.

  • Design experiments to investigate the mechanism of chemical reactions.

  • Critically analyse the connection between observation and conclusion in scientific experiments.

  • Assess the soundness of conclusions drawn in scientific writing.

Outline Syllabus

  • Brief introduction to hypothesis testing, the null hypothesis, replication, control experiments (non-statistical treatment).
  • Hypothesis testing in mechanistic chemistry:  Mechanism v outcome (product ratios), major and minor pathways, Curtin-Hammett principle, kinetic and thermodynamic products, resting states in catalysis.
  • Differentiating the fundamental mechanistic types:  Associative, dissociative, interchange, polar, radical; outcome prediction from mechanism.
  • Transition state theory (non-mathematical treatment), Hammond postulate and the principle of microscopic reversibility.

  • Use of fundamental rate equations:  Kinetic and thermodynamic parameters, dependence on pressure, temperature, concentration.
  • Reactant electronic and steric effects:  Substrate control as a concept; leaving group effects; neighbouring group participation; Hammet plots.
  • Solvent effects:  Polarity as a probe of mechanism, viscocity as a probe for ion/radical pairing/diffusion; hemilabile solvents stabilising reactive intermediates/complexes/ions.
  • Spectroscopic techniques:  Transient spectroscopy, VT NMR, spin-trapping. 
  • Isotopic labelling, kinetic isotope effects, isotopic tracers.
  • Application of isotope tracers in biosynthesis; simple examples of biosynthetic pathways by isotopes.
  • Stereochemical methods:  The Walden Cycle; stereochemistry as a probe for reaction mechanisms, inversion and retention; trans effect probes.

Assessment Proportions

  • 60% Exam

  • 40% Coursework

CHEM362: Advanced Techniques for Analytical Separations

  • Terms Taught: This modules runs in Weeks 1-5 of Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Chemistry, Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering majors only.

Course Description

This module will provide an introduction to the principles that underpin modern techniques of analytical separation, including capillary electrophoresis; gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography (HPLC). The student will gain an appreciation of how analytical separation systems rely on a combination of components working together and how the performance of any individual component affects the overall separation process. The module will span the underlying theory through to an understanding of analytical practice that may be optimised to deliver a separation technique that is efficient.

Throughout, practical examples of separation applications will be used to illustrate the principles and practice. The module will also demonstrate the more general analytical principle that an optimised analytical technique must deliver an acceptable combination of: analytical selectivity (which is resolution in separation techniques); Analytical sensitivity (which is peak shape and detection in separation techniques); and minimisation of analysis time (which defines the economy of any analytical technique).

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Describe the principles behind analytical separations and the components of: Sample preparation and introduction; column technology and selection; quantitative detection and detection selectivity; chromatographic data interpretation and analysis; and the link between fundamental performance equations and the quality of analytical separation data.

  • Demonstrate how separation variables may be optimised to generate efficient and data-rich chromatograms.

  • Calculation of analytical performance data associated with column chromatography.

  • Recognise the vital balance between analytical selectivity, analytical sensitivity and analysis time efficiency.

Outline Syllabus

This course will introduce ion mobility and column chromatography techniques of analytical separation. The principles of these separation techniques will be described and exemplified, with an emphasis on understanding how each component within a given separation technique contributes to the analytical quality and efficiency of the overall separation process. The practice of analytical chromatography will be described in terms of the application of advanced methods that enable the optimisation of separation resolution, detection sensitivity, and analysis time. The twelve lectures are as follows:

  • Ion Mobility Separations
  • Separation Efficiency
  • Capillary Electrophoresis
  • Introduction to Column Chromatography
  • Gas Chromatography Separations
  • Liquid Chromatography Separations
  • Chromatography Detectors
  • Chromatography linked to Mass Spectrometry
  • Samples and Sample Introduction
  • Method Development in Chromatography
  • GC - Retention Indices and Temperature Programming
  • LC - Optimisation and Gradient Elution

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam:  50%

CHEM363: The Chemistry of Biomedical Imaging

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in Weeks 1-5 of Lent Term only
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM104 and CHEM105

Course Description

The aim of this module is to introduce the imaging techniques most commonly used in biology and medicine, their strengths and weaknesses, and the methods and chemistry behind them. Specifically the module will introduce key concepts relating to the chemistry behind and the design, synthesis and application of chemical agents in MRI; PET; SPECT; Fluorescence microscopy and other optical techniques. Finally the module will introduce the concept of multimodal imaging and explore the issues involved and prospects for development in this area.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to...

  • Demonstrate understanding of how chemical contrast agents operate in common imaging techniques;
  • Demonstrate understanding of the important design factors for an imaging agent;
  • Demonstrate understanding of important synthetic approaches to imaging agents;
  • Demonstrate an ability to interpret images from the common imaging techniques in terms of the chemical agents involved.

Outline Syllabus

This module describes the use of chemical contrast agents in biological and medical imaging, including common imaging modes such as MRI, PET / SPECT and fluorescence microscopy as well as new and emerging methods such as Near IR imaging.

The various techniques will be introduced with a discussion of their strengths and weaknesses and the requirements for chemical agents to enhance their usefulness. The physical basis action of the agents involved and how they enhance the images produced will be covered from a largely descriptive point of view with limited maths.

The design and synthesis of general classes of agents and specific examples of clinical imaging agents (e.g. FDG, Myoview) will be presented, showing how the biological / pharmaceutical properties (membrane transport, toxicity) and physical properties required for imaging can be successfully balanced with molecular design.

Finally, the area of multi-modal agents will be introduced and real - life applications of selected agents illustrated.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework:  50%
  • Exam:  50%

CHEM364: Investigating mechanism in sustainable polymer synthesis

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in Weeks 6-10 of Lent Term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM222 and CHEM233

Course Description

This module is centred on metal-initiated chain growth polymerizations, and aims to bring together students' knowledge of coordination and organometallic chemistry and behaviour of polymeric materials to examine polymer synthesis from an inorganic chemistry perspective. 

The suitability of various metals and ligands for mediation of polymerization reactions will be explored, with a focus on the mechanisms of polymerization and how they affects polymer molecular weight and dispersity, regiochemistry and stereochemistry. 

We will also consider the kinetics of polymerization reactions and the underlying thermodynamics.  We will examine the polymerization of olefins, polar monomers, cyclic esters ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) and carbon dioxide/epoxide copolymerization.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Identify the properties of ligands and metals that make them well suited to catalysing the polymerization of a given monomer based on their fundamental knowledge of coordination chemistry
  • Identify and characterize the expected polymer product(s) from a given monomer or catalyst, or the starting materials and/or initiator necessary to produce a given polymer
  • Predict reaction outcomes based on a fundamental knowledge of ligand and metal properties
  • Suggest experiments or characterization techniques that could be used to elucidate aspects of mechanism, or probe regio- or stereocontrol, molecular weight or dispersity
  • Critically engage with the primary literature in the area of metal-catalysed polymerization

Outline Syllabus

  • The course is focused on chain growth polymerization, specifically homogeneous, metal-based, co-ordination polymerization.  The course will cover the following types of polymerization:

    • 1. Olefin polymerization
    • 2. Ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP)
    • 3. Polymerization of polar monomers
    • 4. Ring-opening polymerization of cyclic esters
    • 5. CO2/epoxide co-polymerization

    With consideration of the following aspects:

    • Kinetics and thermodynamic driving forces
    • The mechanism of polymerization and how it affects:
    • Molecular weight and dispersity control
    • Control over polymer regiochemistry and stereochemistry

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam:  50%

CHEM365: Elucidating the Properties and Interactions of Molecules

  • Terms Taught:  This module runs in weeks 16-20 of Lent term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to CHEM241, CHEM211 and must take CHEM341

Course Description

This module seeks to provide an insight into chemical behaviour on a molecular level. It therefore considers a number of familiar concepts, including the interactions between molecules, reactivity, and various spectroscopic techniques, on a molecular scale. It will build upon earlier compulsory courses in Quantum Chemistry, Spectroscopy, Reaction Kinetics and Computational Chemistry, drawing together concepts while developing molecular-scale understanding of the processes involved. 

Lectures will introduce concepts such as the subtleties of electronic structure, molecular motion and reaction dynamics, understanding photochemical processes and developing models of intermolecular interactions.

A significant arsenal of quantum chemical techniques will be introduced in a practical way, to model chemical reactions, spectra, intermolecular forces etc, to explain and rationalise experimental observations. The practical work will be designed to build the students' confidence and fluency in the techniques employed, and to enable them to select appropriate techniques to solve given problems.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Predict (with justification) the dominant forces acting within and between molecules.
  • Outline the dynamical behaviour of molecules and their reactions on a molecular level.
  • Describe experimentally observed spectra in terms of the electronic structure properties of molecules.
  • Review the various quantum chemical techniques that can be used to calculate theoretical spectra and other experimental observables, including the ability to select and rationalise the most appropriate technique to address a given problem. 
  • Use theoretical results to interpret and identify features in experimental spectra and other observables.
  • Devise and conduct appropriate quantum chemical calculations to model an experimental result, and rationalise the likely success in explaining an experiment.

Outline Syllabus

This module considers the fundamental properties of molecules, the interactions between molecules, and how we probe and understand them from the perspective of theoretical chemistry. Insight into molecular scale interactions and reaction processes, and the interpretation of experimental spectra, will be considered through the explicit calculation of the electronic structure of molecules using modern quantum chemical techniques.

The lectures will focus on describing molecular structure, intermolecular forces, reaction dynamics, and the processes behind the computation of 'theoretical spectra' all from the electronic structure of a molecule. The computer-based workshop sessions will involve directly computing these properties and spectra using computational techniques, and will provide the opportunity to learn how to rationalise experiment using theoretical results. Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding the colour of molecules, both in absorption and emission, together with molecular vibrations, reactivity and reaction processes, and their connection to basic electronic structure.

Assessment Proportions

  • 75% Exam

  • 25% Coursework

CHEM491: Advanced Quantum Chemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 16-20 of Lent term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent of CHEM241 and CHEM341

Course Description

This module develops student’s understanding of the principles of chemical simulation.

  • Knowledge of modern approaches in chemical simulation
  • The techniques required to understand, interpret and manipulate key simulated chemical properties
  • The principles and application of the currently most relevant electron structure simulations methods (to include Hartree-Fock, density functional, configuration interaction and coupled cluster theories)
  • Insights into the effects of special relativity in chemistry and recently identified manifestations of these effects

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Critically compare different quantum chemical methodologies
  • Propose appropriate methodologies for a range of chemical systems
  • Apply quantum chemical methodologies in computational simulations of chemical systems
  • Interpret simulation data
  • Describe relativistic quantum chemical phenomena

Outline Syllabus

12 hours lectures, 2 laboratories, 2 tutorials taught over 5 weeks: 

  • Introduction, review of quantum mechanical concepts
  • Definitions and concepts in electron correlation 
  • Many electron systems and simplification of the Hamiltonian
  • Approaches to solutions of the many electron Schroedinger equation
  • Hartree-Fock theory
  • Density functional theory
  • Explicitly correlated models
  • Configuration interaction and size consistency
  • The coupled cluster Ansatz. Scaling issues.
  • The interaction of light and matter
  • The Electronically excited state
  • Electronic transitions
  • Relativistic quantum chemistry: the Dirac equation and approximations
  • Spin-orbit coupling
  • Manifestations of relativity in chemistry

Assessment Proportions

60% Exam

40% Coursework

CHEM492: Organic Photochemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1-5 of Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits: 3 semester credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent of CHEM301

Course Description

This module offers a detailed overview of organic photochemistry (organic chemistry mediated by light) from a synthetic viewpoint. To start with, the relevant fundamental photophysical laws and processes will be considered (e.g. absorption, fluorescence, phosphorescence, singlet/triplet excited states), before moving on to the most commonly encountered organic photoreactions, including [2+2] photocycloadditions, Paterno-Buchi reactions, Norrish/Norrish-Yang processes and photoreactions of aromatic compounds. The increasing role of organic photochemistry in sustainable synthesis will be emphasised, and the significance of photoprocesses will be highlighted by considering their occurence in Nature (e.g. in vision, vitamin D biosynthesis and UV-induced DNA damage) as well as in medicine and technology. The various different types of photoreactor available for practical photochemistry will also be presented, and their merits compared. Finally, current hot topics in synthetic photochemistry will be discussed (e.g. enantioselective photochemistry and photoredox catalysis).

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Describe fundamental photophysical processes and their effects on spectroscopic properties and reactivity

  • Identify suitable reaction conditions for carrying out the most common photoreactions (as covered in the course) on unfamiliar substrates

  • Predict the product(s) of the most common photoreactions (as covered in the course) on unfamiliar substrates, given appropriate reaction conditions

  • Critically analyse recent developments in synthetic photochemistry

  • Give examples of, and discuss the importance of, photochemical processes in Nature, medicine and technology

  • Explain the role of synthetic photochemistry in sustainable synthesis

Outline Syllabus

  • Fundamental photophysical laws and processes (e.g. absorption, fluorescense, phosphorescence, singlet/triplet excited states, role of sensitisers)

  • Overview of commonly encountered photoreactions (e.g. [2+2] photocycloadditions, Paternò-Büchi reactions, Norrish/Norrish-Yang processes and photoreactions of aromatic compounds)

  • Significance of photochemical processes in Nature, medicine and technology (e.g. in vision, vitamin D biosynthesis, photodynamic therapy)

  • Hot topics in synthetic photochemistry: enantioselective photochemistry and photoredox catalysis. 

Assessment Proportions

60% Exam

40% Coursework

CHEM493: Self-organising Soft Nanomaterials

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 5-10 of Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits: 3 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent of CHEM233 and CHEM333

Course Description

The function of soft materials in  high end applications, but also in the seemingly mundane world of soaps, paints, gels and food stuffs, fundamentally relies on a control of the molecular self-assembly and the self-organisation on a mesoscopic scale. This module will tell you about the chemistry and molecular basis of recent advances in soft materials and nanoscience, with a particular focus on liquid crystals, and link these advances to real applications. In particluar the aims of the module are as follows: 

  • To introduce liquid crystals in the context of other soft matter systems encountered in years 2 and 3.

  • To  describe the structures of the different liquid crystal mesophases as aniostropic liquids. 

  • To develop understanding of how the molecular structure impacts anisotropic phase structure  in liquid crystal systems and give an overview of specific terminology.

  • To give an overview of typical characterisation techniques for liquid crystals and discuss in this context the optics and anisotropic physical properties of liquid crystals.

  • To show how the unique properties of liquid crystals are exploited in high-end applications, from LCD TVs to smart sensors. 

  • To discuss current frontiers in soft matter research and emerging soft nanomaterials.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Discuss key-concepts governing the behaviour of soft self-organised materials.

  • Describe how the molecular structure of a liquid crystal affects the organisation on the mesoscale and the phase structure of the observed liquid crystal phase. 

  • Describe the structures of the different liquid crystal mesophases as aniostropic liquids. 

  • Rationalise  the self-organisation in liquid crystals and how this self-organisation is related to physical properties.

  • Explain the connections between the different classes of soft materials.

  • Give an overview of typical characterisation techniques for liquid crystals and discuss in this context the optics and anisotropic physical properties of liquid crystals.

  • Summarise important applications that are based on the unique properties of liquid crystals and other soft nanomaterials.

Outline Syllabus

Soft materials have changed our lifestyle beyond recognition. We have seen the arrival of liquid crystal display screens in televisions, computers and mobile phones; new tough but lightweight materials; self-cleaning windows; as well as drug delivery systems in medicine, to name a few. The function of soft materials in all these high end applications, but also in the seemingly mundane world of soaps, paints, gels and food stuffs, fundamentally relies on a control of the molecular self-assembly and the self-organisation on a mesoscopic scale. This module will explore the chemistry and molecular basis of recent advances in soft materials and nanoscience, with a particular focus on liquid crystals, and link these advances to real applications. The module follows on and will build on knowledge from the Soft Materials part of the 2nd and 3rd year courses on “Solids, Surfaces, and Soft Materials” (CHEM233 and CHEM333), which introduced the fundamental properties of polymers and block-copolymers in the second year and colloids and surfactants in the 3rd year.

The aim of the module is to develop key principles of soft matter organisation from the examples encountered in years 2 and 3, in particular the self-assembly of block-copolymers, surfactants, and loyotropic colloids and to apply these principles to the understanding of liquid crystal systems. The chemical structures of typical liquid crystals as well as the structure and physical properties of their mesophases as anisotropic fluids will be introduced, and the use in devices from LCD-TVs to optical sensors explored. The module will end with a discussion of current frontiers in soft materials research and the exploration of some emerging soft nanomaterials as hybrid soft materials. 

Assessment Proportions

60% Exam

40% Coursework

CHEM494: Supramolecular Chemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1-5 of Michaelmas term only.
  • US Credits: 3 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent of CHEM224 and CHEM301

Course Description

This module provides an introduction to the research field of Supramolecular Chemistry ("Chemistry beyond the molecule"). In the first part of the course, students will study host-guest recognition, including how receptors bind different cations and anions with high affinity and selectivity. In the second half of the course, the elegant structures and functions of supramolecular architectures that are generated by templated self-assembly processes will be explored.

Throughout the module, parallels will be drawn between examples to be found in the natural world and the synthetic chemistry laboratory. For example, a comparison will be made between the naturally occurring antibiotic valinomycin and synthetic crown ether macrocycles as receptors of potassium and other alkali metal cations. A key part of this module will be the regular reference to and study of relevant papers and reviews on Supramolecular Chemistry to be found in the scientific literature.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Identify different types of non-covalent interaction being used in host-guest complexes and self-assembly processes.

  • Predict, explain and analyse trends in association constants for host-guest complexes, for a variety of different classes of guest (e.g. cations, anions, ion pairs, neutral molecules).

  • Rationalise self-assembly processes and template directed synthesis.

  • Critically analyse recent developments in Supramolecular Chemistry, by applying the principles learnt in this module.

Outline Syllabus

The course covers the concepts behind the developing area of supramolecular chemistry introducing and expanding upon the fundamentals of the area with important examples. The course will cover:

  • Concepts of non-covalent chemistry, host-guest chemistry and self-assembly, including complementarity.

  • Host-guest chemistry, including cation and anion recognition. The concept of pre-organisation. Applications of host-guest chemistry, e.g. molecular sensors, ion transportation.

  • Self-assembly, including template synthesis. Examples of discrete interpenetrated and interlocked molecules and molecular assemblies. State-of-the-art concepts such as molecular machines.

Assessment Proportions

60% Exam

40% Coursework

CHEM495: Transition Metal Structure and Application to Catalysis

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 6-10 of Lent term only.
  • US Credits: 3 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent of CHEM222, CHEM224 and CHEM321

Course Description

The course will further develop knowledge and understanding in the areas relevant to transition metal catalysis, building on previous coordination and organometallic chemistry.

The course will focus on transition metal chemistry including the stereochemistry of coordination complexes, structure determination, and homogenous catalysis. Case studies in homogeneous catalysis will include: asymmetric hydrogenation, and hydroformylation, oxidative catalysis and C-C bond formation.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Rationalize the stereoisomeric considerations in a range of transition metal complexes;
  • Describe a range of techniques to predetermine the isomeric integrity in inorganic materials;
  • Discuss catalytic pathways in a range of industrially important procedures;
  • Interpret and generate appropriate hybrid nomenclature;
  • Present rational evidence based chemical structures from analytical data;
  • Communicate complex ideas using appropriate terminology within a chemical frame of reference

Outline Syllabus

Advanced Transition Metal Chemistry:

  • Overview of core transition metal principles.
  • Appropriate use of organometallic nomenclature.
  • Stereochemistry in transition metal complexes.

 Strategies for Stereochemistry and Isomerism:

  • Stereoisomer separation and purification.
  • Stereoselective synthesis– theory and techniques.
  • Isomeric identification using spectroscopic techniques. 

Catalysis in action:

  • Catalytic cycles; isomerization.
  • Selectivity: chemo, regio and stereo.
  • Asymmetric hydrogenation, N-alkylation, dynamic kinetic resolution.

 Selected catalysis case studies:

  • Green chemistry and application of catalysts
  • Review of C-C couplings.
  • Catalytic oxidations and epoxidations.

Assessment Proportions

60% Exam

40% Coursework

CHEM496: Advanced NMR: Proteins, Solids and Imaging

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 6-10 of Lent term only.
  • US Credits: 3 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 5 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent of CHEM211 and CHEM311

Course Description

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is the principal spectroscopic technique used by chemists, biochemists, and biologists to determine the structure of molecules and to study their dynamics. Compared with other methods, NMR spectra are very simple and there is often a straightforward relationship between the spectra and the structure of the molecules they have been obtained from. NMR is also an element-specific and non-destructive techinique. In modern usage, NMR is an extremely powerful technique as, almost uniquely, the experiments can be performed in a way that enhances or removes certain types of information from the spectra, great facilitating their interpretation. In the somewhat different guise of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), NMR is now familiar to wider society as a result of its medical applications.

This module provides an advanced introduction to nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). The basic principles of the method are presented from a physical chemistry perspective and then experimental methods appropriate to the study of both liquid and solid samples are discussed. Applications of NMR to the study of the structure and dynamics of proteins, to solid-state inorganic materials, and to medical imaging are described.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Relate the basic physical principles of NMR spectroscopy and of the physical origin of the interactions observed therein

  • Describe the differences between NMR spectorscopy of liquids and of solid materials and explain the origin of those differences

  • Describe the application of modern NMR methods to the study of biomolecules in both solution and the solid state

  • Describe the application of modern solid-state NMR methods to the study of inorganic solids, including the exploitation of quadrupolar nuclei

  • Explain the basic principles of magnetic resonance imaging

Outline Syllabus

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is the principal spectroscopic technique used by chemists, biochemists, and biologists to determine the structure of molecules and to study their dynamics. Compared with other methods, NMR spectra are very simple and there is often a straightforward relationship between the spectra and the structure of the molecules they have been obtained from. NMR is also an element-specific and non-destructive techinique. In modern usage, NMR is an extremely powerful technique as, almost uniquely, the experiments can be performed in a way that enhances or removes certain types of information from the spectra, great facilitating their interpretation. In the somewhat different guise of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), NMR is now familiar to wider society as a result of its medical applications. This module will cover the following topics:

  • Basic NMR phenomenon; spin interactions in liquids; chemical exchange; spin relaxation

  • Experimental NMR methods in liquids; two-dimensional NMR

  • Spin interactions in solids; experimental methods in solids; NMR of quadrupolar nuclei in solids; advanced NMR methods in solids; applications of solid-state NMR

  • Protein structure determination by NMR; protein dynamics by NMR

  • Magnetic resonance imaging

Assessment Proportions

60% Exam

40% Coursework

CHEM497: Solar Energy Conversion and Storage

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1-5 of Lent term only.
  • US Credits: 6 Semester Credits
  • ECTS Credits: 10 ECTS Credits
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent of CHEM314 and CHEM333

Course Description

This module will provide an overview of the different uses of solar energy with emphasis in photovoltaic energy conversion and current developments in electrochemical energy storage. The students will gain a basic understanding of energy conversion to different forms and familiarise themselves with the energy issue, basic energy flows and the use of renewable energy. The students will be familiarised with the basic principles of photovoltaic operation, similarities to photosynthesis and will be exposed to different examples of solar cell materials. The students will apply their knowledge to understand recent developments in the field of photovoltaics and electrochemical storage to be found in the scientific journals. 

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Explain and analyse the different forms of primary fuels used in energy consumption in the UK
  • Critically discuss the developing techniques being employed in utilising solar energy
  • Identify different forms of renewable energies
  • Explain the basic operation of solar cells and similarities to photosynthesis
  • Rationalise and understand different usage of materials in solar energy conversion and storage
  • Critically discuss and compare the state-of-the-art technologies for electrical energy storage
  • Explain the principles of a range of electrochemical energy storage systems

Outline Syllabus

Solar Energy Conversion:

This part of the module will look at current developments in the field of solar energy conversion and renewables.  The various uses of solar and renewable energy will be discussed and emphasis will be placed on photovoltaic energy conversion. A basic understanding of the photovoltaic process will be presented and different types of solar cells will be discussed. The materials and their properties used in different types of solar cells will be presented such as polymer and inorganic. The student will get exposed to recent advances in research of new designs and new nanomaterials used in 'third generation' photovoltaics cells. The similarities of the photosynthetic process with the photovoltaic operation will be explored.

Storage:

Solar and wind energy conversion represent fast-evolving technologies that are increasingly contributing to our energy networks. Yet, with renewable sources comes the major issue of intermittent supply and the need for suitable, large-scale energy storage. This aspect of the module will consider electricity storage, the key technologies under development to store and deliver renewable electricity, the materials used in storage and the chemistry behind some of those leading technologies. Large-scale electrochemical storage and power-to-gas processes will be studied in particular detail, with consideration of existing chemistries (All-Vanadium, iron chromium, zinc-bromide flow batteries, and variation on lithium-ion and sodium sulfur battery technologies) and future potential systems and their present limitations. The mechanisms underlying large scale water electrolysis and electrochemical energy storage will be assessed.

Assessment Proportions

60% Exam

40% Coursework

LEC.173: Biogeochemical Cycles

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 1-5 of Lent Term Only.
  • US Credits: 2 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: High school chemistry, and mathematics and/or physics.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to some key biogeochemical processes occurring in the atmosphere, natural waters and soils. It also shows how biogeochemical processes fit into the bigger picture of biogeochemical cycling and Earth Systems Science and gives examples of biogeochemical cycles of elements on various spatial and time scales. The practical sessions reinforce the lecture material and introduce you to related modelling and experimental skills. The course includes nine hours of lab work.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  • Explain the nature and significance of key biogeochemical processes (photosynthesis, respiration, chemical weathering, free radical reactions, cloud chemistry, atmospheric loss processes).
  • Describe the biogeochemical cycles of selected elements.

Outline Syllabus

Lectures

  • Module overview.  Introduction to Earth System Science and related importance of biogeochemical processes.  Introduction to box-model approach to quantifying the dynamic behaviour of environmental systems.  Related concepts, e.g. mass balance, conservative versus non-conservative behaviour, residence times, steady versus non-steady state.
  • Chemical weathering and its environmental significance.
  • Nature and significance of photosynthesis and respiration in terms of their effects on the Earth's chemical environment.
  • Photolysis and free radical chemistry, clouds and cloud chemistry, atmospheric loss processes (wet and dry deposition).
  • Examples of biogeochemical cycles, e.g. N, S and Hg.

Practicals

  • Box-modelling practical.
  • Laboratory experiment on chemical weathering rates of limestone.
  • Acid-rain laboratory experiment.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

LEC.182: Introduction to Environmental Chemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 6-10 of Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 2 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 4 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: High school mathematics and/or chemistry.

Course Description

This is a support course for students weak in Chemistry. It provides a basic treatment of relevant aspects of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry; discussions of their relevance to environmental chemistry; practical sessions giving training in basic chemical laboratory skills and an introduction to chemically and instrumentally based analytical methods. The course includes nine hours of lab work.

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student will be able to: Generic Outcomes  

  • Work safely and competently in a chemical laboratory.

Subject Specific Outcomes 

  • Describe the basic chemical characteristics of substances.
  • Explain what is meant by a chemical reaction and why reactions occur.
  • Explain the difference between chemical equilibrium and kinetics.
  • Explain the nature and importance of interactions between electromagnetic radiation and matter.
  • Provide environmental examples to illustrate previous outcomes

Outline Syllabus

Lecture Outline

  • Atomic structure; isotopes; radioactivity; electron configuration of atoms; chemical bonds and structure of molecules; properties of matter; gas laws; and the periodic table.
  • Introduction to organic compounds.
  • Aqueous solutions and ions
  • Chemical reactions and energy. Chemical equations and reversibility.
  • Kinetics: first order reactions; rate constants.
  • Chemical equilibrium: equilibrium constants
  • Interactions of electromagnetic radiation and matter, illustrated by reference to spectroscopy and environmental reactions (photochemistry)

Practicals/Workshops

  • Atomic structure.
  • Molecular properties.
  • Instrumental chemical analysis. 

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

LEC.276: Aquatic Biogeochemistry

  • Terms Taught: This module runs in weeks 6-10 of Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: LEC.173 or equivalent

Course Description

The aims of this course are to introduce you to a) the nature of aquatic systems from a chemical standpoint, b) the main processes and factors governing the chemical composition of natural waters, c) a range of case studies to illustrate a and b and d) various analytical methods and analytical quality control considerations. The course includes eight hours of lab work and four hours of workshops.

Educational Aims

On completion of this module a student will be able to:Generic Outcomes

  • Prepare an Excel spreadsheet for data analysis and presentation.
  • Apply algebraic and IT skills to aquatic chemistry

Subject Specific Outcomes

  • Describe the basic chemical characteristics of natural waters.
  • Discuss the factors and processes controlling the chemical composition of natural waters.

Outline Syllabus

Lecture Outline

  • The nature of aquatic systems and the properties and characterization of substances present in natural waters.
  • Chemical equilibrium.
  • Acids, bases, pH, pH buffering, alkalinity, the CO2 system.
  • Chemical weathering and clay minerals.
  • Redox processes.
  • Sorption phenomena and colloids
  • Acid rain case study

Practical/Workshop:

  • Practical concerned with spectrophotometry analysis of Ca and quality assurance
  • Practical concerned with CO2 system and pH buffering, including measurement of pH and alkalinity.
  • Workshop providing experience of various numerical exercises.

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%