Module code: CHE3045

Module Overview

This module is a research-informed FHEQ level 6 course that builds on levels 4 and 5 to inform, analyse and stimulate enquiry into Physical Chemistry research in problems of relevance to industry and the environment. It features green chemistry, catalysis, surface science, advanced spectroscopy and photochemistry.

Module provider


Module Leader

CARTA Daniela (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: 120

Lecture Hours: 28

Tutorial Hours: 3

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

A knowledge of Physical Chemistry to FHEQ Level 5

Module content

Indicative content includes:


Green, Environmental and Catalyst Chemistry

The twelve principles of green chemistry; atom economy; kinetics of green chemistry; photocatalysis.

Atmospheric reactions and pollution; air pollution control kinetics; kinetics of consecutive reactions, greenhouse gases.

Surfaces and Surface structure: Low Energy Electron Diffraction, Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy.

Physical absorption.  Chemisorption and sticking properties.  Thermodynamic parameters.  Langmuir isotherm.  Lindemann-Hinshelwood and Eley-Rideal mechanisms. 

Heterogeneous catalysis in process, food, environmental of forensic chemistry.  Homogeneous catalysis.  Enzymatic catalysis.


X-ray absorption spectroscopy

Principles of X-ray absorption spectroscopy (Extended X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy Fine Structure, EXAFS and X-ray Absorption Near Edge Spectroscopy, XANES). Synchrotron Radiation.



Beer-Lambert Law and adsorption strengths; Frank-Condon principle; fates of photochemically excited molecules; fluorescence; phosphorescence; internal conversion’ intersystem crossing; Jabblonski Diagrams; Quantum yields, fluorescence lifetimes and ‘natural lifetimes’, quenching; Stern-Volmer equation; delayed fluorescence; Fermi’s golden rule and intermolecular processes. Photochemistry and Kinetics.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 1 15
Coursework COURSEWORK 2 15
Examination EXAM 1.5 HOURS 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • research, analysis and quantitative skills (coursework)

  • understanding, analysis and recall (unseen examination)


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Written unseen examination (1.5 hours) 70%

  • Two coursework problem sheets (15% each) comprising 3-6 questions, deadlines (Part I; 4pm Tuesday Week 6 and Part II; 4pm Tuesday Week 11)


Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment and feedback are provided throughout the module in the form of in-class exercises, examples and worked problems. Feedback is instant as model answers (full worked solutions) are given in class. Formative assessment is also evident through the provision of ‘checklists’ at the end of each section of the module that detail the areas covered in that part of the course.

Detailed and individualised feedback is given on the marked assignments within the time allowed for marking coursework.


Module aims

  • To apply chemical kinetics in environmental and cataalytic chemistry including relevant parts of surface science.
  • To apply advanced spectroscopic techniques to chemically relevant problems.
  • To apply physicochemical study of solids to understanding semiconductors and carbon supermaterials.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain and evaluate the kinetics of physical processes in green, environmental and catalytic chemistry; KC
002 Explain and evaluate the principles and applications of advanced spectroscopic techniques KC
003 Explain and evaluate the structure and properties of semiconductors and carbon materials, based on electron behaviour in bonds and in band. KC

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 designed to:

Build on the foundation of Physical Chemistry from Levels 4-5 to be able to apply Physical Chemistry knowledge and reasoning to areas of topical, industrial and societal importance, including current research.


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 28 formal lectures of 1hr, normally 3 per week, and coursework based on workshops

  • Three whole class workshops

    Lectures will include discussion and interaction where appropriate.  Course material will be provided on SurreyLearn, including calculational tools.


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: CHE3045

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 2020/1 academic year.