Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Chemistry


Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Core Chemistry 2 (CHEM2012) AND Properties of Molecules (CHEM2097).


  • Core Chemistry 3 (CHEM3012) OR Chemical Physics 3 (CHEM3411).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To advance the knowledge of intermolecular interactions and electronic and vibrational spectroscopy.


  • Intermolecular forces: electrostatic; induction; dispersion; repulsion.
  • Molecular excited states: electronic spectroscopy, vibrational and rotational structure; photoelectron spectroscopy.
  • Optical spectroscopy in the condensed phase: fluorescence and phosphorescence, non-radiative transitions; lasers.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • describe the nature and origin of intermolecular forces, how they are measured and their consequences for the properties of gas and liquids;
  • describe the interactions between particles and surfaces in solution, including the role of entropy;
  • carry out quantitative calculations of forces between molecules and between particles or surfaces;
  • describe the principles of electronic and optical spectroscopy;
  • describe the electronic structure of diatomic molecules and apply the principles of spectroscopy to predict and explain their electronic spectra;
  • describe the principles of photoionisation and explain/predict photoelectron spectra;
  • describe the main processes in plasmas;
  • explain optical and dynamical processes in excited states and their applications;
  • describe the architecture and explain the principle of operation of laser systems.
Subject-specific Skills:
Key Skills:
  • Problem solving, developed through practice;
  • information retrieval and scientific writing, exercised through assignments for workshops;
  • Self-motivation, in self-guided learning.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures are used to convey concepts, demonstrate what is required to be learned and the application of the theory to practical examples. When appropriate, lectures will be supported by written material, or by information and relevant links on Blackboard Learn Ultra.
  • Private study should be used by students to develop their subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation, through reading textbooks and literature.
  • Workshops are groups of students where problems are considered and common difficulties shared. This ensures that students have understood the work and can apply it to real life situations. These are formatively assessed.
  • Students will be able to obtain further help in their studies by approaching their lecturers, either after lectures or at other mutually convenient times.
  • Student performance will be summatively assessed through examinations. Examinations test students' ability to work under pressure under timed conditions, to prepare for examinations and direct their own programme of revision and learning, and develop key time management skills. The examination will provide the means for students to demonstrate the acquisition of subject knowledge and the development of their problem-solving skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 1 or 2 per week 1 Hour 21
Workshops 3 1 per Term 1.5 Hours 4.5
Preparation and Reading 74.5
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination Two hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Set work for workshops.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University