Subject Description:

This course presents a solid foundation of the fundamentals of physical chemistry, from the atomic level to the molecular level. Students will learn and appreciate how the quantum atomic model can explain chemical bonding and properties of molecules or solids. The connection between the atomic and molecular electronic structures and its applications will be presented.  Relevant principles and concepts, and applications in semiconductors, quantum dots, spectroscopy, transition metals and electrochemistry will be discussed. Throughout the half-term course, emphasis will be placed on the foundations of quantum theory, relevant scientific applications in the field of chemistry, problem-solving, experimental design, and data analysis. 

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the term, students will be able to:

  • Describe the basics of quantum atomic model, and how it leads to properties of atoms in the periodic table.
  • Explain the molecular orbital theory, the principles of conduction and valence band, and doping levels.
  • Examine the optical properties of quantum dots and explore its applications.
  • Describe the relationship between the electronic structure of transition metal complexes and their optical properties.
  • Illustrate the principles of an electrochemical cell.

Delivery Format*:


Grading Scheme:

Attendance and in-class activities (clicker, worksheets) (13.3%)
Problem sets & online MCQs (20.0%)
Mid-term 1 (16.7%)
1D designette project (16.7%)
Final exam (33.3%)

*The first number represents the number of hours per week assigned for lectures, recitations and cohort classroom study. The second number represents the number of hours per week assigned for labs, design, or field work. The third number represents the number of hours per week assigned for independent study.