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BSc Chemistry / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Personalised Learning Unit 2.20

Unit code CHEM30122
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit? No


This personalised learning unit allows students to choose three (CHEM30112) or six (CHEM30122) segments of advanced chemistry topics.



The over-arching aim of these modules is to prepare students for a professional career in Chemistry by expanding core chemistry knowledge into advanced topics to provide a wider and deeper understanding of particular areas of chemistry.

The key aims of each of the segments are:

Molecular Simulation – This segment explains the main techniques used in computer simulation of molecular systems and how they are used to investigate molecular behaviour.

Polymer Materials – This segment enables students to understand how the macromolecular structure of a polymer influences its material properties, and hence the ways in which it may be used.

Surface Analysis - This segment introduces students to the fundamentals of surface science and the techniques used to gain atomic-scale understanding of surface chemistry.

Porous MOFs – This segment introduces students to porous metal-organic frameworks.

Applied Photochemistry - This segment introduces students to applications of photochemistry to ultrafast, time-resolved and high-resolution spectroscopy.

Industrial Separations – This segment enables students to understand how separation processes they are familiar with on a laboratory scale are carried out on an industrial scale, and to understand how materials chemistry can contribute to more energy-efficient separation processes.

Catalytic Asymmetric Reactions – This segment introduces students to the catalytic processes which are routinely used for the stereoselective synthesis of target molecules. This segment will build upon the use of stoichiometric, stereoselective processes, previously discussed in years one to three, for the synthesis of target molecules possessing one or more chiral centres.

Main Group Reagents in Synthesis – This course unit introduces students to the use of boron-, silicon-, sulfur- and selenium-containing reagents in organic synthesis.

Solid State NMR: Principles and Applications - This segment enables students to

1. Introduce the fundamentals of NMR in the solid state as opposed to NMR in the liquid state.

2. Explain the mechanisms of line-broadening in the solid state.

3. Describe methodologies for narrowing lines in the solid state.

4. Highlight specific applications of solid state NMR.


Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students should be able to:

Molecular Simulation (R. Henchman)

ILO1 – Learn how computer simulation is used to solve chemical problems, together with its capabilities and limitations.

ILO2 – Understand the principles of how to set up, run and analyse a simulation.

ILO3 – Apply the key equations to model molecular interactions, bring about dynamics and connect with experiment.

ILO4 – Appreciate better the three-dimensional, dynamic, interactive nature of molecular systems.

Polymer Materials (P.M. Budd)

LO1 – Explain the differences between rubbery, glassy and semi-crystalline polymers in terms of their molecular structures and material properties.

ILO2 – Describe the way in which polymers crystallize.

ILO3 – Interpret data from mechanical testing, differential scanning calorimetry, optical microscopy and electron microscopy of polymers.

ILO4 – Discuss ways of tackling environmental problems arising from plastic waste and undertake research and innovation in a responsible manner.

Surface Analysis (A. Walton)

ILO1 - Rationalise the use of ultrahigh vacuum conditions in surface science in terms of gas-surface collision rates

ILO 2 - Describe and explain the technology required to achieve UHV in the laboratory

ILO 3 - Define surfaces and reconstructions using Miller Indices and Wood’s notation

ILO 4 - Describe the principles of operation of surface spectroscopic techniques (XPS, SIMS) and interpret spectra

ILO 5 - Describe the principles of operation of surface structural techniques (SPM, LEED) and interpret data

ILO 6 - Propose appropriate surface science experiments to understand a given surface process/reaction

Porous MOFs (S. Yang)

ILO1 – Revision of metal-ligand coordination chemistry and explore their application in the assembly of extended “infinite” framework structures.

ILO2 - Understand the concept of coordination geometry for multiple nuclear metal clusters and analysis of structural connectivity.

ILO3 – Introduction of new advanced analytic methods for solid materials. Explore neutron scattering and to understand the key difference between X-ray and neutron scattering.

ILO4 – Understand the basic principle of thermal analysis and calculate TGA plots and interpret its application in solid state chemistry.

ILO5 – Introduction of gas adsorption in porous materials and to understand the gas-substrates interaction at the solid-gas interface. To explore different types of adsorption isotherms and their corresponding physical chemistry and correlation to the pore structure of the materials.

ILO6 – construct the link between “gas adsorption” and “structure of MOFs” aiming to explore the solution to a series of existing problems in the society.

Applied Photochemistry (A. Horn, L. Natrajan)

ILO1 – describe and explain the principles of light sources for photochemistry and spectroscopy, including pulsed and ultrafast lasers and synchrotrons;

ILO2 – outline the principles underlying ultrafast and high-resolution spectroscopic methods

ILO3 – rationalise data from examples of ultrafast and high-resolution experiments in terms of molecular structure and dynamics.

Industrial Separations (P.M. Budd)

ILO1 – Describe how absorption, distillation, adsorption and membrane processes may be utilised in industry.

ILO2 – Apply principles of thermodynamics and of molecular diffusion to equilibria and mass transfer in separation processes.

ILO3 – Discuss developments in polymer and materials chemistry that are relevant to advanced separation proce

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Problem solving, analytical skills, time management.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Each segment of the course will provide a minimum of 1 workshop/example class.

Lecturing staff will provide Office Hours during the course

After the exam marking has been completed students are able to view their examination scripts.


Recommended reading

Specific reading material will be provided separately for each segment.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 3
Lectures 7
Practical classes & workshops 1
Independent study hours
Independent study 189

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Peter Budd Unit coordinator

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