Module code: CHEM038

Module Overview

Enhancing the knowledge and application of specialist topics in analytical chemistry including awareness of the operation of advanced modern instruments with particular attention to the practical aspects and problem solving/application aspects of advanced atomic spectroscopy, chromatography, electrochemistry, neutron activation analysis and mass spectrometry. Familiarisation with advanced instrumental methods and current trends in research applications.

Module provider


Module Leader

AL SID CHEIKH Maya (Chemistry)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:


  1. review of recent advances in modern analytical techniques; inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-MS); inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) - principles, instrumentation, interferences and operation, laser ablation, electrothermal vaporisation; speciation analysis using hyphenated-mass spectrometry techniques (applications for As and Hg speciation); instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA); mass spectrometry sample introduction (ES), time-of-flight, quadrupole to sec (MS-MS);


  1. fundamentals of elemental speciation, current trends, challenges and application of hyphenated techniques; case studies in environmental and biomedical research;

  2. electrochemistry for (bio)analytical chemistry


  1. review X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF);


  1. ICP-MS instrumental analysis of research samples, application of calibration curves (including use of dilution factors), validation using CRMs, evaluation of polyatomic interferences and the effective use of collision cell methodology and preparation of a scientific publication; and


  1. review of separation science (GC and HPLC); method development, optimisation, choice of method; preparative chromatography, supercritical fluid (SFC), counter-current, hydrophilic interaction (HILIC), chiral separations, role of HPLC/GC in pharmaceutical, biomedical and environmental analysis with a review of recent advances in applications.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework 20
Examination Examination (2 hours) 80

Alternative Assessment

The candidate will be required to complete a data handling and publication coursework activity.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate sufficient theoretical and applied practical skills of the above.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • data handling and analytical publication (The Analyst) 20% (learning outcomes 2, 3, 4 & 5)

  • examination 80% (learning outcomes 1, 2, 3 & 4).


Formative assessment


Commentary and feedback on coursework and an informal tutorial (pre-examination).




Verbal throughout the ICP-MS practical and data handling session, and subsequent written feedback on the submitted Excel data file and Analyst publication (coursework).

Module aims

  • 1- describe and evaluate the fundamentals of advanced instrumental methods, with particular emphasis on recent developments and research applications;
  • 2- describe and evaluate state of the art analytical instrumentation, principles of method development; problem solving and practical aspects of advanced atomic spectroscopy, chromatography, electrochemistry, nuclear analysis and mass spectrometry (including hyphenated techniques);
  • 3- reflect and improve student awareness of advanced quality control in analytical chemistry, especially in the research environment;
  • 4- improve student awareness of practical aspects and challenges of analysis, optimisation and validation; the use of statistics and calculations for quantitative analysis and journal publication as used in research.
  • 5- improve student awareness of health and safety issues.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand and evaluate the relative usefulness of a range of analytical techniques, including advanced atomic spectroscopy, chromatographic/hyphenated techniques using mass spectrometry (HPLC-ICP-MS, HPLC-MS, GC-MS), neutron activation analysis (INAA), electrochemistry for (bio)analytical chemistry CKP
002 Critically evaluate the operation of modern instrumental techniques coupled with an appreciation of instrumental calibration and validation, problem solving, data handling and good laboratory practice CKP
003 Critically evaluate instrumental interferences (identification and practical solution) and key analytical parameters (detection limit, linear dynamic range, sensitivity, levels of accuracy and precision) CKP
004 Conceptually understand and critically evaluate the use of statistics in a research environment (calculation of least squares line of best fit and dilution factors in quantitative analysis) CP
005 Critically analyse and evaluate instrumental data, review of literature and prepare a scientific publication CKPT

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 skills gained in FHEQ 5/6 (especially Advances in Analytical Instrumentation) in order to:

  • develop a deep knowledge of the fundamentals and operation of advanced modern analytical instruments;

  • develop a practical approach to good laboratory practice and quality control in the research laboratory through the optimisation and validation of the analysis of environmental samples by ICP-MS; and

  • enhance data handling skills, statistical analysis and report writing for scientific publication (The Analyst).

The learning and teaching methods include:

Combination of lectures (26 hours), a practical session (3 hours):

  • individual data handling and analytical publication report (coursework);

  • instrumental operation and problem solving/applied research (chromatography, atomic spectroscopy, nuclear analysis, and electrochemistry).

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: CHEM038

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Medicinal Chemistry MChem 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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 2020/1 academic year.