Chemistry 402

CHEM 402
Physical Chemistry II

1. Catalog Entry

CHEM 402
Physical Chemistry II

Credit hours (4)
Prerequisites: CHEM 401

The objective of this course is to cover the basic principles of physical chemistry focusing on an introduction to quantum chemistry and statistical thermodynamics.  
2. Detailed Description of Course

The topics covered in CHEM 402 lecture and practiced in the laboratory are those considered unchanging principles of physical chemistry that are applied to real-world scientific problems.

In quantum chemistry, we will start with an understanding of the origins of and reasons for the necessity of quantum mechanics to understand matter.  We will then begin to derive the relationships that will lead us to the Schrodinger equation and learn to apply it to a variety of systems and observable quantities such as translational, rotational and vibrational motion, electron energy and molecular structure.  

In spectroscopy we will discuss and apply the quantum mechanical theoretical basis for infrared, UV-Vis atomic and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

In statistical mechanics we will investigate applications of the Boltzmann Distribution and partition functions to a variety of systems (ensembles) resulting in an ability to calculate macroscopically observable thermodynamic quantities from quantum mechanically derived microscopic quantities.

The following topics are covered:
    1) The origins, history and principles of quantum mechanics (the Schrodinger Equation).
    2) Quantum theory of motion (translational, rotational, vibrational).
    3) Atomic Structure and Spectra (the hydrogen atom, atoms with more than one electron, atomic spectra).
    4) Molecular structure (molecular orbitals, diatomic molecules, polyatomic molecules).
    5) Rotational and vibrational spectroscopy (symmetry and selection rules, rotational and vibrational spectroscopy of diatomic and polyatomic
    6) Electronic spectroscopy (transitions and decay).
    7) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Electron Paramagnetic Resonance.
    8) Statistical Mechanics (the Boltzmann Distribution, partition functions, ensembles, energy, entropy, derived functions).

3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course emphasizes problem solving. A major goal is to provide an environment in which each student can develop an effective means of identifying, analyzing, and ultimately solving complex real-world problems. Concepts introduced in lecture are then reinforced with real-world problems in the laboratory.  

Students work in small groups in the laboratory and the analysis of experimental data is usually a collaborative effort.  Students will conduct both introductory experiments and more in-depth investigations requiring use of the literature, advanced instrumentation, and new techniques in data acquisition and analysis. Short technical reports will be required for introductory experiments, while more involved experiments and student projects will require a full scientific paper (ACS manuscript format) and may require poster or oral presentations.

4. Goals and Objectives of the Course

After successful completion of this one semester physical chemistry course, the student will be able to:
    1) Understand the basic principles of quantum chemistry and statistical thermodynamics.
    2) Appreciate how the working equations used in this course and in previous chemistry courses can be derived from fundamental principles and
       mathematical methods.
    3) Solve complex chemical problems in a logical manner utilizing calculus when appropriate  
    4) Utilize a variety of experimental techniques and instrumentation to obtain both chemical and physical data, analyze the data logically using the
       appropriate mathematical models and  statistics, and present experimental results in the appropriate technical report.

5. Assessment Measures

Assessment of the student’s success in the course is based on examinations, homework, quizzes, a final examination, accuracy of laboratory work, maintenance of a laboratory notebook, and laboratory reports, as well as a variety of written assignments.

6. Other Course Information


Review and Approval

April 2009