The University of Southampton

CHEM6126 Advanced Spectroscopy and its applications

Module Overview

Modern spectroscopic techniques underpin a wide range of chemical and biological research as well as serving as a valuable analytical tool. This module will introduce some of the key principles and techniques that govern spectroscopic measurements and allow scientists of all disciplines to characterise chemical structure and composition, image biological samples and follow chemical reactions in intricate detail. The module will cover how these techniques can be used for both applied science relevant to biological imaging, as well as more fundamental science for measuring the motion of the atoms and electrons that drive chemical reactivity.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use spectroscopic terminology and concepts
  • Explain how various regions of the electromagnetic spectrum can be used to measure different aspects of molecules structure
  • Analyse real experimental data to retrieve information about chemical and biological systems
  • Explain how Raman and IR techniques work and what information can be retrieved
  • Explain how spectroscopy can be used to measure photochemical reactions
  • Choose an appropriate spectroscopic technique for a given task


The syllabus, which is described in outline below, is aligned with the following QAA benchmark statements for chemistry at FHEQ Level 7 (Masters). • to extend students' comprehension of key chemical concepts and so provide them with an in-depth understanding of specialised areas of chemistry; • to develop in students the ability to adapt and apply methodology to the solution of unfamiliar types of problems; • to instill a critical awareness of advances at the forefront of the chemical science discipline; • to prepare students effectively for professional employment or doctoral studies in the chemical sciences; • the ability to adapt and apply methodology to the solution of unfamiliar problems; • knowledge base extends to a systematic understanding and critical awareness of topics which are informed by the forefront of the discipline; • problems of an unfamiliar nature are tackled with appropriate methodology and taking into account the possible absence of complete data. A brief summary of the lecture content: 1. Light-matter interactions: Introduction to spectroscopy; basic concepts, terminology and features including EM spectrum, transitions, energy levels, line widths etc. 2. Electronic spectroscopy (UV-Visible-NIR) and examples 3. Absorption and Fluorescence spectroscopy including use in biology 4. Vibrational spectroscopy and introduction to IR and Raman 5. Advanced Raman techniques: Surface-enhancement, plasmonics and some bioanalytical applications 6. Non-linear spectroscopy: overview of techniques and bioimaging applications 7. Photochemistry – What can we learn about chemical reactivity from spectroscopic measurements? 8. Conventional spectroscopy approaches – Kinetic energy release spectroscopy 9. Time-resolved spectroscopy – Wavepackets and transition state spectroscopy 10. The current state of the art – From femtoseconds to attoseconds

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching Methods Lectures, workshops (involving real data analysis), Lab visits Directed reading, BB online support Learning Methods Independent study, student motivated peer-group study, student driven tutor support.

Practical classes and workshops6
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Follow-up work27
Total study time75

Resources & Reading list

Modern Spectroscopy (2004). Modern Spectroscopy. 

Fundamentals of Molecular Spectroscopy (1994). Fundamentals of Molecular Spectroscopy. 

Laser Chemistry. Spectroscopy, dynamics and applications (2007). Laser Chemistry. Spectroscopy, dynamics and applications. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (1 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (1 hours) 100%
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