Spectroscopy and Bonding - CHEM5320

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module will deepen your understanding of the fascinating world of quantum mechanics and symmetry. We explore how this gives rise to quantisation and selection rules, and go on to apply this to spectroscopic methods to understand structure and bonding including: rotational (microwave) spectroscopy, vibrational (IR and Raman) spectroscopy and electronic transitions (UV-vis). The lab course will give you hands on experience of some of these quite abstract concepts, and will allow you to apply your spectroscopic skills to real chemical problems. (Lab component.)


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 56
Private study hours: 94
Total study hours: 150


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Assessment 1 (2 hours) – 5%
Assessment 2 (2 hours) – 5%
Assessment 3 (2 hours) – 5%
Practicals (equivalent to 16 pages) – 25%
Examination (2 hours) – 60%

Indicative reading

P.W Atkins, Physical Chemistry (2014)
C. N. Banwell and E. M. McCash, Fundamentals of Molecular Spectroscopy (1994)
Y. Jean, F. Volatron and J. Burdett, An Introduction to Molecular Orbitals (1993)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Have the knowledge and critical understanding of:
Basic quantum mechanical concepts
Basic concepts of molecular symmetry and group theory.
How to obtain and interpret spectra to calculate molecular parameters from spectroscopic data.

Intellectual skills:
Link quantum mechanical theories to experimental observables.
Interpret spectroscopic data.
Perform practical experiments to gain spectroscopic information.
Operate standard chemical instrumentation, record data and evaluate observations and errors.

Subject-specific skills:
Demonstrate knowledge of basic spectroscopy; microwave, infrared, UV-VIS, Raman.
Perform calculations on molecular parameters from spectroscopic data.
Understand quantum mechanical concepts underlying bonding and energy transitions experimentally observed in spectroscopy.
Understand symmetry of molecules to determine spectroscopic data.
Make use of appropriate texts, or other learning resources as part of managing their own learning.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Have a knowledge and understanding of:
Problem-solving skills, an ability to formulate problems in precise terms and to identify key issues, and the confidence to try different approaches in order to make progress on challenging problems.
Analytical skills – associated with the need to pay attention to detail and to develop an ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, to construct logical arguments and to use technical language correctly.
Personal skills – the ability to work independently, to use initiative, to organise oneself to meet deadlines and to interact constructively with other people.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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