Module code: CHE3042

Module Overview

This module is to be undertaken as a distance learning module for MChem students on placement. It consists of problem sets as coursework, split into an assisted component and unassisted component. The modules revisits some level 5 inorganic chemistry content (symmetry) and extends these concepts to use of symmetry in molecular orbital theory and bonding, and towards the rationalization of vibrational spectra. Other spectroscopic techniques are considered including UV/vis spectroscopy, NMR, EPR and mass spectrometry. Finally, the methods of characterisation by single crystal X-ray diffraction will be considered. Therefore, this module feeds towards knowledge that may be used in final year project work where many techniques will be used to reveal the nature of synthesized compounds.

Module provider


Module Leader

TURNER Scott (Chemistry)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 150

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content topics:

1. Representations of symmetry operations; character tables; Schoenfliess symbols; reducible and irreducible representations. Application of group theory to bonding (relationship to MO diagrams) and to vibrational spectroscopy (relationship to IR and Raman spectroscopy)


2. The use of spectrometric methods in studying inorganic molecules and ions

2.1. Energy levels, timescales, selection rules and instrumentation

2.2. Molecular vibrations and complimentary nature of Raman and IR spectroscopies

2.3. Coupled vibrations in IR spectroscopy of Inorganic metal coordination complexes

2.4. Magnetic resonance phenomena. NMR – coupling and decoupling, nuclei with I > ½

2.5. Mass spectrometry; isotope patterns and fragmentation


3. X-ray crystallography for crystal structure and molecular structure determination

3.1. Crystal symmetry. Unit cells. Bravais lattices. The Bragg equation. Miller indices. Diffraction by single crystals vs powder. Scattering of X-rays

3.2. Equations linking atom identities, conversion of scattering lengths and positions to intensities as a function of measuring angle. Thermal effects and other experimental variables. The Phase problem.

3.3 Techniques for extraction of crystal structure from experimental data. Moving to molecular structure.

3.4. Use of software to view, manipulate and extract information from crystal structures.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Unassisted Problems 80
Coursework Assisted Problems 20

Alternative Assessment

None available

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to embed the spectroscopic, crystallographic and symmetry related fundamental knowledge, and also to assess how the student can use this information to solve problems – particularly of working out structures of inorganic compounds. This will involve small sub-sets of each question set that requires the student to simply describe information to assess understanding. In addition there will be a range of previously seen problems and problems that have not been seen before, mainly taken from the research literature. Fundamental knowledge will also be embedded by the use of formative exercises using online MCQ question sets.


Summative unassisted work (80%):

  • A question set containing a mixture or explanatory / descriptive questions and unseen problem sets


    Summative assisted work (20%):

  • A question set containing a mixture or explanatory / descriptive questions and unseen problem sets


    Formative questions sets (0%)

  • A series of MCQ questions, covering all topics, delivered via SurreyLearn, that can be accessed at any time by the student. It is recommended that the student read each text and then try to answer the appropriate MCQ test.



The students are given feedback on all submitted summative work. The assisted work will be completed and marked before the unassisted work.  Detailed feedback on the assisted work is returned before the 80% summative coursework is required.

Module aims

  • To revise aspects of molecular symmetry and to consider simple applications of group theory and character tables to bonding and spectroscopy.
  • To enable an understanding and appreciation of the application of spectrometric methods in Inorganic Chemistry, including NMR, EPR, IR and Raman, UV/Vis, Mass spectrometry.
  • To gain knowledge in the area of the determination of crystal structures and molecular structures using crystallographic techniques

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify point groups for specific molecules and use group theory and character tables to rationalize simple bonding descriptions and vibrational spectra KCP
002 Review and develop the principles underlying the application of spectrometric methods in inorganic chemistry, and apply key concepts to a range of methods including vibrational, electronic, magnetic resonance and mass spectrometries. KCPT
003 Apply basic techniques of X-ray crystallography in the determination of crystal structures and molecular structures. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is to gain information through student self-study, using the essential reading material, together with time available to ask the academic module coordinator for extra information / to explain concepts in more detail or to clarify subject matter.  The latter part will be achieved via discussion boards on SurreyLearn.


The learning and teaching methods:

  • A total of 150 hours of self-study

  • An unlimited use of discussion fora which will involved the academic

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: CHE3042

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Chemistry MChem 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemistry with Forensic Investigation MChem 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Medicinal Chemistry MChem 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.