Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Spectroscopy (Core Course)
Quantum mechanics is fundamental to our understanding of matter and the way in which atoms and molecules interact with light, i.e. spectroscopy. This course introduces quantum mechanics, starting from its development to explain failures of classical mechanics, through to its application to atoms and in understanding the spectra of one- and many-electron atoms/ions. We shall also discuss how electronic configurations give rise (through electrostatic interactions) to terms, and how these are split by the magnetic coupling of spin and orbital angular momenta into (J) levels, which may be further split into states in a magnetic field.
Non-ideal Thermodynamics and Equilibrium Electrochemistry (Core Course)
Thermodynamics provides an essential quantitative framework for understanding both equilibrium and change in the physical world. This module extends the ideas introduced in Year 1 to non-ideal situations, specifically to those situations where the interactions between atoms, molecules or ions need to be taken into account. The module will explain how these interactions affect the properties of materials and how systems reach equilibrium, before illustrating the importance of some of these ideas in electrochemistry.
X-ray Diffraction (Core Course)
This module introduces X-ray diffraction as a powerful analytical technique for providing detailed structural information of solids. The nature of the crystalline state will be discussed before moving on to show how the diffraction experiment can be used to define key parameters such as the unit cell, space groups and lattice parameters.
Chemistry of the Elements: p-Block (Core Course)
This module focuses on the chemistry of the p-block elements, with the first section covering elemental trends, bonding effects and the chemistry of p-block compounds. The second section focuses on the use of simple band theory to understand the bonding and properties in p-block elements and semi-conducting solids.
Chemistry of the Elements: d-Block (Core Course)
This module discusses the stereochemical and bonding properties of transition metal complexes. The electronic structure of transition metals in coordination and organometallic complexes will be discussed and the donating/accepting properties of ligands reviewed and contrasted in the spectrochemical series. Basic concepts of electronic spectroscopy of coordination complexes will then be correlated to the bonding in metal complexes, before introducing bonding in organometallic transition metal complexes and how this important class of compound finds extensive application in synthetic organic chemistry. In the final section of the course, we will focus on transition metal oxides and fluorides and their solid state structures. The concept of metal–metal bonding in transition metal compounds and the influence that this has on electronic and magnetic behaviour will be introduced.
Synthesis and Mechanism (Core Course)
This course develops the ideas of chemical reactivity principles, structure and bonding and selectivity issues that were introduced in Year 1, and now applies these to more advanced aspects of Organic Chemistry including aromatic chemistry, reactive intermediates, enolate chemistry and physical organic chemistry.
This course introduces the concept of aromaticity, its origins and how this property affects the physical and chemical behaviour of so-called aromatic compounds. Focusing on benzene as the prototypical aromatic compound, we consider its reaction with electrophiles and discuss in detail how substituents on a benzene ring affect the reactivity of the aromatic ring towards further electrophilic aromatic substitution, and how the regioselectivity of this process can be understood and predicted. We finish by examining a selection of heteroaromatic compounds to see how replacing a carbon atom in the aromatic ring for a more electronegative element affects the reactivity and degree of aromaticity of the compound.
Building upon their introduction in Year 1, this course further explores the chemistry of reactive intermediates in Organic Chemistry. We will examine the structure, formation, relative stability and reactivity of key examples, including carbocations, carbanions, arynes, radicals, carbenes and nitrenes. The nature of those species you have already met (carbocations and carbanions) will be discussed in more detail, and used as a basis to inform our subsequent discussion of the other reactive intermediates covered in this course, and by extension to reactive intermediates that you will meet later in the degree programme.
Physical Organic Chemistry
This course takes a problem-based learning approach to examine how experimental physical methods can be used to probe the reactivity of organic molecules. We will explore how aspects of physical chemistry – simple kinetics and thermodynamics – can be used to elucidate reaction mechanisms. Particular emphasis will be placed on the application of primary and secondary kinetic isotope effects and linear free energy relationships to elucidating reaction mechanisms.
Having explored in Year 1 the chemistry of the carbonyl group and specifically its application as an electrophile in a variety of bond-forming processes, this course will discuss how carbonyl compounds bearing α-C-Hs can function as nucleophiles. Nucleophilic forms of carbonyl groups include enolates and enols. We will discuss in detail the selectivity issues involved in forming and using these species before exploring their application in a range of important bond-forming processes, including the crossed-aldol reaction.
Determination of Structure
Building on material introduced in Year 1, this course takes the NMR spectroscopy technique further, showing how 2-dimensional NMR experiments provide a particularly powerful method for elucidating molecular structures. The concept of NMR spectroscopy is then extended to molecules containing spin-active nuclei other than 1H and 13C. The emphasis of this course is on problem-solving rather than the underlying theory, which is covered in detail in Year 3.
Symmetry, Group Theory and Vibrational Spectroscopy
In this module, you are introduced to the ideas of molecular symmetry and the power of group theory to analyse and simplify symmetry-related problems in chemical bonding and spectroscopy. The course is delivered through an integrated programme of lectures, each of which is accompanied by a self-learning computer-based workshop. You will also be introduced to rotational and vibrational Raman Spectroscopy and its use in the study of simple diatomic molecules before we extend these concepts and the applications of group theory to the study of more complex molecules using vibrational spectroscopies.
Chemical Electives (choose two from three).
This course develops the knowledge and concepts covered in the introductory course in Year 1, and also aims to provide you with an appreciation of the analytical capabilities of, and problems associated with, the application of a number of important instrumental techniques including atomic absorption and emission spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma sources (especially linked to mass spectrometry) and luminescence analysis. Throughout the course, environmental and forensic applications will be used to illustrate the current significance of these techniques.
All students on the Chemistry with Analytical Science programme (F180 / F181) take this module.
This course provides an introduction into the synthesis, structure, properties and functions of large biological molecules including amino acids and proteins, and nucleic acids in DNA and RNA. Basic ideas used to study enzyme mechanisms, kinetics and catalysis are also developed.
All students on the Chemistry with Bioorganic programme (F163 / F190) take this module.
In this course, you will learn to appreciate the role that computers play in modern chemistry. You will obtain an understanding of how computation relates to a number of areas of chemistry, and how it can help as an investigative tool that is complementary to experimental approaches. The course deals specifically with the modelling of electronic and molecular motions. An overview of the important ideas, including molecular mechanics, conformational analysis, and ab initio methods, is backed up by a practical component which provide hands-on experience.
In this key-skills module, you will undertake group work on an assigned chemistry topic, and learn to appreciate and develop key team-working skills. You will use a range of software packages to produce a piece of written work, requiring research and analysis of literature information, and further develop your communication skills through an oral presentation and the use of new media technologies to communicate your research to a wider audience.
Modern Language modules
Students on our Chemistry with a Modern Language programmes and those on the Chemistry with Study Abroad programme, who are intending to study at a non-English speaking University on their year out take a modern language module.