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The University of Southampton

CHEM3039 Advanced Physical Chemistry

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Be fully conversant with major aspects of chemical terminology related to electrode kinetics, heterogenous catalysis and surface science, and reactions at interfaces
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of fundamental physicochemical principles with the ability to apply that knowledge to the solution of theoretical problems related to chemistry at interfaces
  • Develop an awareness of issues within chemistry that overlap with other related subjects including environmental impact, sustainability and climate change, in the context electrochemical energy conversion and storage
  • Read and engage with scientific literature


The course deals with the nature of surfaces, both real and ideal, the energetics of adsorption at surfaces and adsorption isotherms, and the charge distribution at the liquid/solid interface. The kinetics of reactions at interfaces, including the role of mass transport and applied potential on the overall kinetics are discussed. The role of microscopic structure of the interface in determining the rates of heterogeneous catalysts is discussed along with spectroscopic and scanning probe techniques for the characterisation of gas/solid and liquid/solid interfaces on the molecular scale. Examples of applications to fuel cells, energy storage and conversion and heterogeneous catalysis are discussed in detail.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, workshops

Preparation for scheduled sessions30
Practical classes and workshops10
Wider reading or practice51
Follow-up work25
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Southampton Electrochemistry Group. Instrumental Methods in Electrochemistry. 

Attard and Barnes. Surfaces. 

D. Pletcher. A First Course in Electrode Processes. 

C. M. A. Brett and A. M. Oliveira Brett. Electrochemistry. Principles and Applications. 

A. C. Fisher. Electrode Dynamics. 

J. O’M. Bockris and A. K. N. Reddy. Modern Electrochemistry. 

P. H. Rieger. Electrochemistry. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Final Assessment   (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Final Assessment   (2 hours) 100%

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: CHEM2012 AND CHEM2013

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