CHEM205: Spectroscopy

Course Syllabus for "CHEM205: Spectroscopy"

Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation.  Molecules respond to different types of radiation in different ways, depending on the frequency (?) or wavelength (?) of the radiation.  In General Chemistry, we studied spectroscopy as a tool for explaining the quantum mechanical model of the atom.  In that course, we learned that light is an electromagnetic radiation of a wavelength that is visible to the human eye.  We also learned that light, which exists in tiny “packets” called photons, exhibits properties of both waves and particles, a characteristic referred to as the wave-particle duality.  The quantized relationship is defined as E = hv, where E is energy, h is Plank’s constant, and v is frequency. Spectroscopy and spectrometry are often used in chemistry for the identification of substances through the spectrum from which they are emitted or by which they are absorbed.  The type of spectroscopic technique is defined by the type of radiative energy used, the nature of the response, or the nature of the material being studied.  In Organic Chemistry, we used spectroscopy for structure elucidation of organic molecules. Spectrometry is the spectroscopic technique used to assess the concentration or amount of a given chemical species.  In Analytical Chemistry, we studied spectroscopy primarily for measuring analyte concentrations.  The instrument used for these types of measurements is called a spectrometer, spectrophotometer, or spectrograph. This one-semester course is designed to provide you with a more thorough description of the theory behind each spectroscopic technique as well as its applications.  The course is meant to build upon itself, and each unit requires a working knowledge of the material from preceding units.  The first unit covers mass spectrometry (MS).  It is followed by a unit on ultraviolet and visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis) and its application to structural information in addition to analytical techniques.  The third unit deals with infrared spectroscopy (IR), where you will practice using the combination of the first three spectroscopic methods to obtain structural information of organic molecules.  The final unit comprises nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.  In this unit you will be required to combine concepts from all spectroscopic techniques discussed.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Discuss similarities and differences between spectrometry and spectroscopy.
  • Identify the basic components of spectroscopic instrumentation.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of mass spectroscopy (MS), ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy, infrared (IR) spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy.
  • Describe how a mass spectrometer produces its spectral patterns.
  • Explain the information obtained from a UV-Vis spectrophotometer and how it can be used for analysis.
  • Illustrate the mechanisms that give rise to the infrared absorption bands and identify to which functional groups each correspond.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the processes responsible for NMR chemical shifts and splitting patterns.
  • Elucidate the structures of organic molecules from spectral data. 

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed all “Prerequisites” of the Chemistry discipline (CHEM001: Introduction to Mechanics, CHEM002: Introduction to Electromagnetism, CHEM003: Single-Variable Calculus I, and CHEM004: Single-Variable Calculus I).

√    Have completed General Chemistry I & II (CHEM101 & CHEM102), Organic Chemistry I (CHEM103), and Analytical Chemistry (CHEM108) as listed in “The Core Program” of the Chemistry discipline. 

Course Information

Welcome to CHEM205: Spectroscopy. General information about this course and its requirements can be found below.
Course Designer: Dr. Rachel Lerebours
Primary Resources: This course comprises a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following:

  • Central Connecticut State University: Dr. Neil Glagovich’s Spectroscopy
  • OCHem.com: Thomas Poon’s Tutorials

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned material. All units build on previous units, so it will be important to progress through the course in the order presented.
Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the assessments in this course. 

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again. 
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of approximately 101 hours to complete. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit and assignment. These time advisories should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at the time advisories before beginning this course in order to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit. Then, you can set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you approximately 29 hours to complete. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete Subunit 1.1 (a total of 5 hours) on Monday night, Subunit 1.2 (a total of 4 hours) on Tuesday night, etc.