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MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Core Chemistry 4

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEM30312
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


X-ray diffraction and crystallography (Dr. Michael Baker, 4 asynchronous sessions and 5 workshops):
- Crystallography
- Theory and application of single-crystal X-ray diffraction;
- Powder X-ray diffraction.

Structure and Properties of Inorganic Extended Crystalline Solids (Dr Martin Attfield, 4 asynchronous sessions and 5 workshops):
- Crystal structures, their descriptions and common inorganic extended crystalline solids;
- Influence of bonding type and non-bonding electrons on the structures and properties of inorganic solids;
- Metallic bonding, band theory and electronic conduction in inorganic crystalline solids;
- Defects, non-stoichiometry and ionic conduction in inorganic crystalline solids;
- Simultaneous electronic and ionic conduction in the same inorganic crystalline solid.

Surfaces, Interfaces and Catalysis (Prof. Andrew Horn, 4 asynchronous sessions and 5 workshops):
- Basic structure and properties of solid surfaces (surface structures for elements and compounds, surface coordination numbers, adsorbates, surface reconstructions);
- Surface reactivity (electronic structure of surfaces, bonding to surfaces, physisorption and chemisorption, mechanisms of surface reactions, thermodynamics at surfaces);
- Surface kinetics (rates of adsorption and desorption, equilibrium coverage, simple isotherms, competing reactions);
- Liquid surfaces (surface tension, adsorption & surface activity, Gibbs adsorption isotherm & surface pressure, surfactants and micelles);
- Heterogenous catalysis (catalytic mechanisms, examples of specific reactions, interpretation in terms of basic principles);
- Introductory surface analysis (available methods, measurement of surface structure, determination of elemental composition and identification of important adsorbed species).


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Introductory Chemistry CHEM10101 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Energy and Change CHEM10212 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Coordination Chemistry CHEM10312 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Inorganic Chemistry CHEM20312 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Integrated Spectroscopy and Separations CHEM20611 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Core Chemistry 3 CHEM30211 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Core Physical Chemistry CHEM20212 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


The unit aims to:

  • describe the theory and techniques that have made the diffraction of X-rays by crystalline materials, one of the most powerful tools available to chemists;
  • introduce some of the vast array of structures of inorganic extended crystalline solids and to illustrate how the structure of the solid is related to the bonding and chemical composition within the solid, and its properties are related to the structure, bonding and chemical composition.
  • provide a detailed understanding of surface chemistry and to develop an appreciation of the importance of surface chemistry in a range of applications.

Learning outcomes

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

  • Describe the range of chemical information available from diffraction-based techniques.
  • Explain the basis of powder diffraction and index a powder diffraction pattern to extract lattice parameters.
  • Derive the Bragg equation and show how its components relate to X-ray diffraction from a crystal.
  • Determine the Miller indices for a given set of crystallographic planes and the d-spacing of those planes based on the unit cell parameters.
  • Describe the concept of the asymmetric unit and explain how it relates to the structure of a crystal.
  • Describe atomic scattering factors and how the intensity of a reflection and its phase relates to atomic positions within a unit cell.
  • Apply the principles of crystal structure refinement to solve simple diffraction problems.
  • Describe crystal structures of solids using crystallographic terms and concepts such as close packing of spheres and space-filling polyhedral.
  • Rationalise the structural and thermodynamic properties of inorganic extended crystalline solids based on bonding, atom/ion sizes and non-bonding electrons.
  • Rationalise the electronic conductivity of inorganic extended-crystalline-solids based on the magnitude and thermal behaviour of conductivity, the band structure and the chemical composition of the compound.
  • Explain the ionic conductivity of an inorganic extended-crystalline-solid based on the structure of the compound, its chemical composition, and the type and number of the point defects in the solid.
  • Describe the physical and electronic structure of the solid surfaces of elements and simple compounds and use this to explain chemical bonding of atoms and molecules to surfaces;
  • Evaluate the rates and mechanisms of key surface processes in terms of component thermodynamic and kinetic aspects;
  • Describe the physical structure of liquid surfaces and the origins of surface tension, surface excess, surface pressure and surface activity;
  • Use the Gibbs-Duhem equation and the Gibbs adsorption isotherm to rationalise the behavior of surfactants and to explain the formation and stability of micelles;
  • Outline key heterogeneous catalytic schemes and deconstruct them into component surface- and gas-phase chemical processes;
  • Select from a range of modern surface analytical techniques to determine surface structure, composition and adsorption processes.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Concept assimilation; problem-solving skills; analytical skills; time management and organizational skills; numeracy, mathematical and computational skills; investigative skills.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Workshops (MPA 5, MB 5, AH 5)
E-learning (on-line formative quizzes)
Office hours (weekly during course)
Pre-examination feed forward on Blackboard and questions attempted.
Post-examination feedback (able to view marked examination scripts)

Recommended reading

  • W. Clegg, Crystal Structure Determination, Oxford Chemistry Primers
  • A. R. West, Basic Solid State Chemistry,Wiley
  • L. Smart and E. Moore, Solid State Chemistry An Introduction, Chapman and Hall
  • M. T. Weller, Inorganic Materials Chemistry, Oxford Chemistry Primers
  • P.W. Atkins, J. de Paula and J. Keeler, Physical Chemistry, 11th Ed., Oxford University Press
  • K.W. Kolasinski, Surface Science, 3rd Ed., Wiley

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment practical exam 2
Lectures 20
Practical classes & workshops 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 68

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Martin Attfield Unit coordinator

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