Module code: CHEM040

Module Overview

This module builds on levels 4-6 to inform, analyse and stimulate enquiry into current Advanced Physical Chemistry research in problems of relevance to industry and the environment. It features green chemistry, catalysis, surface science, nanomaterials and photochemistry.

Module provider


Module Leader

CARTA Daniela (Chm Proc Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 9

Tutorial Hours: 5

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 20

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:


Green, Atmospheric and Catalyst Chemistry

The twelve principles of green chemistry; photochemistry and kinetics of green chemistry; photoelectrolysis and photocatalysis.

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


Surface Science

Solids (metallic, ionic and molecular). Surfaces. Surface crystallography: X-ray based spectroscopic techniques.

Physical adsorption, capillary condensation and catastrophes. Chemisorption and sticking probabilities. Thermodynamic parameters. Langmuir isotherm. Lindemann-Hinshelwood, Langmuir-Hinshelwood and Eley-Rideal mechanisms. Heterogeneous catalysis in process, food, environmental of forensic chemistry. Homogeneous catalysis. Enzymic catalysis



Synthesis: bottom-up and top-down approaches. Zero-dimensional nanostructures: nanoparticles. One-dimensional nanostructures: nanowires and nanotubes. Two-dimensional nanostructures: thin films. Porous nanomaterials. Sol-gel synthesis of mesoporous silica. Surface area determination and pore analysis using gas adsorption. Examples of applications in biomedical research.


Fundamentals of Computational Chemistry for Chemists

Molecular Dynamics, Hartree-Fock Theory, Thomas-Fermi Theory, Kohn-Sham DFT, dispersion-corrected DFT, QM/MM



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 10
Coursework COURSEWORK 2 10
Examination Online ONLINE OPEN BOOK EXAM 80

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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


  • Coursework: research, analysis and quantitative skills of all aspects of advanced physical chemistry topics taught in the module [LOs 1-4]

  • Examination: understanding, analysis and recall [LOs 1-4]


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


· Coursework 1: Problem solving questions based on the material from the first half of the course  [LOs assessed 1, 2, 3]

· Coursework 1: Problem solving questions based on the material from the second half of the course  [LOs assessed 3, 4]

· Written unseen exam (2 hours) 80% [LOs assessed: aspects of LOs not already assessed in the coursework]


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 catalytic chemistry, including relevant parts of surface science.
  • • To apply advanced spectroscopic techniques to chemically relevant problems.
  • • To apply photochemical excitation and decay processes to molecules.
  • • To understand structure, properties and applications of nanomaterials.
  • • To understand some fundamental applications of computational chemistry.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Evaluate and give a detailed and critical account of the kinetics of physical processes in green, atmospheric and catalytic chemistry; CK
002 Evaluate and give a detailed and critical account of the applications of and advances in the area of surface science CK
003 Evaluate and give a detailed and critical account of aspects of advanced spectroscopic techniques CK
004 Explain and give a detailed and critical account of the processes involved in photochemistry and the excitation of molecules by photons. CK
005 Explain and give a detailed and critical account of processes involving nanomaterial preparation CK
006 Explain and give a critical account of different computational chemistry methods CK

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 29 Formal lectures, normally 3 per week, and coursework based on workshops

  • Four 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: CHEM040

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Chemistry MChem 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Chemistry with Forensic Investigation MChem 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
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 2021/2 academic year.