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The University of Southampton

CHEM1034 Fundamentals of Physical Chemistry II

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • determine rate constants and half-life for 0, 1st and 2nd order reactions from experimental datasets
  • apply selection rules to predict observed spectroscopic transitions
  • understand and apply the Boltzman distribution and its effect on the observed spectra
  • integrate most functions encountered in chemical practice.
  • solve separable first-order ordinary differential equations.
  • complete operations involving matrices, including the determinant and transpose
  • understand complex numbers and their use.
  • Evaluate the risks associated with an experiment and understand how to mitigate against those risks.
  • Set up glassware and apparatus to conduct experiments in Physical Chemistry.
  • Interpret data from an experiment, including the construction of appropriate graphs and the evaluation of errors.
  • Present the results of a practical investigation in a concise manner.
  • write the rate of reaction taking into account the stoichiometry of all species, express a rate law for elementary processes
  • determine the order of reactions with respect to given species by applying the initial rate method and isolation method, express the rate law from the orders with respect to the species involved
  • draw an energy versus reaction coordinate diagram, predict the dependence of rate constants on temperature, calculate the activation energy and preexponential factors
  • apply the steady state approximation and derive the rate law of a complex mechanism such as that found in unimolecular reactions.
  • explain the concept of a particle in a box and the solutions to the Schrödinger equation for particles in 1D, 2D and 3D boxes
  • explain the concept of degeneracy
  • sketch energy level diagrams corresponding to spectroscopic transitions for the various spectroscopic methods covered
  • calculate fundamental properties of molecules using spectroscopic data and similarly predict spectroscopic features given the fundamental properties


• Kinetics: Rate expressions and rate laws for simple zero, first, and second order reactions; the concept of activation energy and its effect on the rates of chemical reactions • Introductory Quantum Mechanics: the Schrödinger equation; particle in a 1D and 2D box; degeneracy. • Radiation and Matter: The Electromagnetic Spectrum again; Absorption; Stimulated and spontaneous emission; Principle of the Laser; Raman and Rayleigh scattering; Types of spectroscopy. • Ultraviolet and visible spectroscopy: Beer-Lambert law; Absorption/emission processes; Jablonski diagrams; Fluorescence and Phosphorescence • Infrared and microwave spectroscopy: Vibrational quantum states; Selection rules for IR; Modes of oscillation; Rotation and moment of inertia; Linear rotor QM states; Rotational constant; Selection rules for microwave; PQR rotation vibration spectra; Rotational and vibrational Raman. • Mathematical concepts in physical chemistry • Completion of two practical experiments and associated reports covering a range of topics and skills that enable the understanding of the physical chemistry that underpins the reactivity of matter; reinforce key skills already introduced; understanding the importance of experimental safety and time management.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, problem-solving Seminars with group working and tutor support Practical chemistry: Prelaboratory e-learning; pre-lab skills lectures/ Seminars; practical sessions, supporting demonstrations, group and one-to-one tuition Practical classes and workshops are broken down as follows: 12 hours - Practical classes and pre-laboratory e-learning 20 hours - Practical workshops

Preparation for scheduled sessions51
Wider reading or practice11
Practical classes and workshops29
Follow-up work12
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

P. Monk, L.J. Munro. or Maths for Chemists. 

E. Steiner. Chemistry Maths Book, The. 

Andrew Burrows, John Holman, Andrew Parsons, Gwen Pilling, and Gareth Price. Chemistry 3:. 

Peter Atkins, Julio de Paula, and James Keeler. Atkins’ Physical Chemistry. 


Assessment Strategy

All absences from practical sessions must be validated. Unexcused absences will result in failure of the module. Repeat year externally: allowed if practical component passed. The practical marks are retained, the theory assessment is exam only. Repeat year internally: note that practical may be reassessed by resubmission of reports or repeated.




MethodPercentage contribution
Assessed Tutorials 10%
Examination  (2 hours) 65%
Lab proficiency 
Maths examination  (1 hours) 12.5%
Practical write-ups 12.5%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%
Lab proficiency 

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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