Module Overview


This module aims to introduce the fundamental concepts of the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with molecules in order to obtain basic structural information, compound identification and quantitative analysis theory and applications of spectroscopy. The theory of electronic spectroscopy, rotational and vibrational spectra of molecules will be introduced. It describes the theory behind each instrumental technique, and shows how the spectra obtained can give information about the structure of molecules, their bonding and energy levels in relation to inorganic and organic molecules. Principles of photophysics are also introduced, leading to a description of the actions of Lasers, Fluorimeters and Raman Spectroscopy. Students will be introduced to the use of UV/Vis, IR and proton NMR spectroscopy for the purposes of elucidating the structure of simple organic compounds. The main aim of the practical element of the module is to allow students to develop new the skills and techniques required for structural elucidation of organic compounds, while supporting and reinforcing the concepts discussed in the lectures.

Module Code

CHEM 2022

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

General features of Spectroscopy.
The electromagnetic spectrum. Interaction of radiation with matter. Relationship between units. Basic principles of operation of UV/Vis, Fluorimeter, IR, Raman, Lasers and NMR spectrometers. Instrumentation of spectrometers. Sample preparation for electronic, vibrational and NMR spectrometers. Quantitative and qualitative analysis using UV/Vis/ Fluorescence and IR/Raman spectroscopy. Selection rules in electronic and vibrational spectroscopy. Introduction to rotational spectroscopy of diatomic molecules (Calculation of bond lengths). Sample cells, solvents, light sources and detectors. Inorganic spectroscopy of molecules.
Structure determination of organic compounds.
The role of infrared and ultraviolet spectroscopy in structure elucidation of organic compounds. Preparation of samples for infrared spectroscopy and examination of infrared spectra of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, aromatic compounds, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, amines and amides using the functional group area and the fingerprint area of the spectrum. Use of spectroscopic correlation data. Prediction of absorption bands for functional groups. Effect of hydrogen bonding. Characterisation of compounds using IR spectra.
UV-visible spectroscopy. Electronic transitions. HOMO and LUMO. Effect of conjugation on the wavelength of absorption. Application of the Beer-Lambert law. Chromophores and Auxochromes. Relationship between the visible spectrum and colour.
The importance of NMR in structural elucidation of organic compounds. Basic aspects of interpreting a spectrum; 1) Equivalence of protons 2) Chemical shift 3) Integration 4) Spin-spin coupling and splitting patterns. Prediction of 1H NMR spectra for simple organic compounds. Structural elucidation of organic compounds using 1H NMR spectroscopy. 1H NMR spectra of compounds with hydroxyl protons. D2O shake procedure. General approach to problem-solving.

Students will learn through lectures, problem solving and laboratory practicals and workshops.
Self-directed learning is encouraged.
Online resources to encourage pre-laboratory and pre-lecture preparation will be hosted via Webcourses.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination45
Other Assessment(s)55