Syllabus for Chemistry 43400

Physical Chemistry Laboratory II

Fall Semester, 2009



Instructor: Prof. Zhonghua Yu, MR-1114, 212-650-8361,

Graduate Assistant: ZhenPing He,


Lecture:     Friday 10:00 – 10:50 am, MR-1026

Lab:           Friday 01:00 – 05:50 pm, MR-1023


Office hours: Thursday 2:00 – 4:00 pm or by appointment.


Course:           CHEM 43400

Course Title: Physical Chemistry and Chemical Instrumentation Laboratory II

Designation:   Required course


Catalog Description:

This course will introduce students to experimental methods in physical chemistry, instrumental analysis and the principles and applications of chemical instrumentation. The course will acquaint the student the behavior of real chemical systems, the theory of the chemical phenomenon under observation and the design and methodology of measurement systems to detect the chemical phenomenon.


Prerequisites: CHEM 33000, 33100, 33200

Special Consideration: Fall semester only


Hours/Credits:          1 hour lecture per week, 5 hours lab per week, 3 cr.

                                    Lecture and lab is given once per week.

                                    This course is counted as a writing course (W) to partially fulfill the elective-level course requirement.


Textbook:                  None. Extensive original literature searching and retrieval is necessary for the laboratory reports.


Course objectives:

This course follows in a sequence of Physical Chemistry I and II and Physical Chemistry Laboratory I. Chemistry 43400 is a requirement for the chemistry major-standard option. Students will be introduced to advanced instrumentation, such as infrared absorption spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, electrochemistry, time-resolved fluorescence, and X-ray diffraction. The laboratory experiments will be focused on the interpretation of spectra, voltammograms, and diffraction patterns in order to understand electronic and vibrational energy levels within molecules, reduction-oxidation (redox) reactions, and symmetry and structures in solid state crystalline materials, respectively. Students will be able to present their experiments including results and discussion in formal laboratory reports written in the style of professional scientific journals.

After completing this course, students should be able to:                                    Dept outcome letters


1. Collect and interpret an infrared absorption spectrum on a liquid.                    a, b, c, d, e, f, i

2. Describe the transitions between vibrational energy levels in two

    electronic states of molecular iodine.                                                                a, c, d, e, f, i

3. Evaluate cyclic voltammetry and polarography of metal ions in

    aqueous solutions.                                                                                            a, b, c, d, e, f, i

4. Collect Raman spectra on tetrahedral molecules and ions and compare

    the frequencies of vibrational modes to theoretical models.                  a, c, d, e, f, I

5. Interpret powder X-ray diffraction patterns of crystalline solids and

    compare to known diffraction patterns from the literature.                   a, b, c, d, e, f, i

6. Collect time-resolved fluorescence spectra and calculate lifetimes.       a, c, d, e, f, I

7. Design an experiment related to physical chemistry with attention to

    experimental techniques and instruments and interpretation of data.                a, e, f, i, j

8. Write complete laboratory reports including abstract, introduction,

    experimental methods, results, discussion, and references.                  f, g, i, k

9. Orally defend the results and discussion from a laboratory experiment.          h, k


Relationship of course to program outcomes:

The outcome of this course contribute to the following

Departmental educational outcomes:                                                   Course Objective Numbers

a.   demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental principles of

chemistry, including atomic and molecular structure, quantum chemistry,

chemical bonding, stoichiometry, kinetics and mechanism, equilibrium,

thermochemistry and thermodynamics, molecular structure and function,

electrochemistry, and the periodic chemical properties of the elements.              1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

b.   apply the fundamental principles of chemistry to life sciences, the

environment, materials, engineering, and emerging technological

fields of chemistry, as well as to everyday situations.                                                         1, 3, 5

c.   conduct experiments and learn fundamental laboratory skills.                                 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

d.   analyze and interpret data                                                                                        1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

e.   apply mathematical concepts to chemical problems                                             1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

f.    work as part of a problem-solving team                                                          1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

g.   convey facts, theories and results about chemistry in written form                                             8

h.   use oral presentation to convey facts, theories and results about chemistry                                 9

i.    access and utilize chemical information technology                                         1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

j.    design and execute scientific research                                                                                         7

k.   apply ethical responsibilities and professional conduct                                                           8, 9




Grading Scheme

6 lab reports: 15 points each.


Each lab report will be a group effort. Each student will be assigned a section from the following: abstract, introduction, experimental methods, results, discussion, and references. One student will be the group leader to compile all sections, format, and submit the report on time. Each student will be given questions to answer at the end of the report.

(5 points overall report, 5 points individual section, 5 points individual questions)


No late lab reports will be accepted.


Lab reports must be in scientific journal article format (abstract, introduction, experimental, results, discussion, conclusion, references, appendix for all data and calculations). Each person will be asked to focus on a different section.


1 Presentation with an oral exam (during the last 2 weeks of the semester): 10 points.

Each student will give a PowerPoint presentation on one randomly chose laboratory experiment. The presentation must be 10 minutes in duration followed by student questions and an oral exam by the professor.


List of Experiments

1.     Absorption spectra of conjugated dyes (1 week)

2.     Absorption spectrum of molecular I2, vibrational-rotational fine structure (2 week)

3.     FTIR, Raman spectroscopy and Gaussian calculations of tetrahedral compounds (2 weeks)

4.     Cyclic voltammetry (CV) and Polarography (2 weeks)

5.     X-ray diffraction (XRD) of solid state compounds  (2 weeks)

6.     Time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy with a nanosecond-pulse laser (2 weeks)

7.     Presentation/Oral Exams (2 weeks)



      8/28                                               Introduction

      9/4                         Lab 1: Absorption spectra of conjugated dyes

      9/11                       Lab 2: Absorption spectrum of I2                              

      9/18                                               No class!

      9/25                       Lab 2: Absorption spectrum of I2                               (Lab report 1 due)      

      10/2                       Lab 3: FTIR, Raman and Gaussian calculation          

10/9                       Lab 3: FTIR, Raman and Gaussian calculation           (Lab report 2 due)

10/16                     Lab 4: CV and Polarography                                     

10/23                     Lab 4: CV and Polarography                                      (Lab report 3 due)

10/30                     Lab 5: X-ray                                                               

11/6                       Lab 5: X-ray                                                                (Lab report 4 due)

11/13                     Lab 6: Fluorescence spectroscopy

11/20                     Lab 6: Fluorescence spectroscopy                               (Lab report 5 due)

11/27                                             Thansgiving!

12/4                       Presentation/Oral Exams                                             (Lab report 6 due)

12/11                     Presentation/Oral Exams