CHEM408-001                                                       Physical Chemistry II                                                            Spring 2020

Professor Maria C. Gelabert                                                                           Sims 314A, x4939

MWF 11:00-12:15 (3 credit hours)                                                                                Office Hours: MF 12:30-1:30, T 3:30-4:30


UPDATED CHEM408 Lecture and Assigned Homework



Required:      Physical Chemistry, Ball, Cengage Learning 2015. (print or eText)

Recommended:    Barrante, J.R. Applied Mathematics for Physical Chemistry, 3rd ed. Waveland Press: Long Grove, 2016.

                        Engel, T. Quantum Chemistry & Spectroscopy. Pearson: New York, 2013.

                        Smart, L.E. and Moore, E.A. Solid State Chemistry: An Introduction, 3rd. ed. Taylor & Francis: New York, 2005.

Course Synopsis and Goals

The second semester of physical chemistry contains the major topics of quantum mechanics, bonding, and spectroscopy, with statistical thermodynamics and an introduction to solid state chemistry. We will progress from atomic to molecular structure with different qualitative models and computational chemistry, then extend to rotational, vibrational and electronic spectroscopy. The solid state section will include bonding, defects, electronic behavior, optical properties and nanoscience.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will demonstrate their mastery with the following problem solving skills:


Every class period will consist of student homework questions, lecture and example problem solving. 

Students with Disabilities/Need of Accommodations for Access

Winthrop University is committed to providing access to education. If you have a condition which may adversely impact your ability to access academics and/or campus life, and you require specific accommodations to complete this course, contact the Office of Accessibility (OA) at 803-323-3290, or Please inform me as early as possible, once you have your official notice of accommodations from the OA.

Student Conduct Code

 “Responsibility for good conduct rests with students as adult individuals.” The student Academic Misconduct Policy is outlined in the “Student Conduct Code” in the online Student Handbook. Further, academic integrity is one of the tenets of the Winthrop University Dedication for Excellence. 


Homework (2-3 problems) will be assigned after every lecture, to be completed, as much as possible, before the next lecture. Students are encouraged to ask specific homework questions at the beginning of every class. Keys are available on the course page. Six half-hour quizzes, consisting of 1-2 problems, will be administered; the lowest quiz grade will be dropped (if you miss any quizzes for any reason, drop up to one). Seven half-hour sessions are dedicated to problem sessions (described below). Two exams and cumulative final exam are scheduled; the final is scheduled for 8:00 am, Thursday, April 30. The highest exam score, including the final, is worth an additional 10%. All quizzes and exams are closed-book and include formula sheet, fundamental constants and periodic table. Percentages and minimum letter grades are below.

Quizzes (4)                     15%                              100-90               A, A–

Problem Sessions (7)         20%                              89-80                B+, B, B–

Exams (2)                       30%                              79-70                C+, C, C–

Final Exam                     25%                              69-60                D+, D, D–

Highest Exam                 10%                              ≤59                  F

Problem Sessions and Quiz Grade Credit

Seven half-hour Problem Sessions are dedicated to student-led problem presentations on the board, where students present, in detail, one homework problem. One week before, students will be assigned (in alphabetical order, no changes except for college-sanctioned conflicts), along with a list of problems for the next session; students will prepare for each problem. Through the semester, each student will present at least 3 times. Presentations must be distinct from any available keys. 15% is based on quality of content and presentation, and the remaining 5% is for attendance. You must attend all the Problem Sessions (any absences must be college-sanctioned) to earn the full attendance grade. 

Quiz Grade Credit is designed to improve your skills, review, and explain any previous errors for the quiz from the previous week. On problem session days, due at the beginning of class, you may submit a single, corrected quiz problem for up to half of the missed points: a full, step-by-step methodology of the problem as well as an explanation of the original errors. Problem corrections must be submitted along with the graded quiz. Attendance at Problem Sessions is required for additional Quiz Credit. 

Attendance, Make-up policy and Syllabus changes

No make-up quizzes will be administered. Early or make-up midterm exam will be considered for university-sanctioned absences or unanticipated absences accompanied by appropriate documentation. Regular attendance is expected and crucial for satisfactory performance in this course. Any syllabus changes will be to the lecture schedule only, communicated on Blackboard via a modified lecture schedule/homework file.

Lecture Schedule

(most lectures to 12:00, *starred dates to 12:15)

Quantum Mechanics and Statistical Thermodynamics – Particle in a Box, Harmonic Oscillator, Rigid Rotor, Hydrogen, Helium

1/13 M


Classical physics, atomic structure

1/15 W

9.6-7, 9.10

Photoelectric effect, particle-wave duality, deBroglie equation

1/17 F

9.8-11, 10.1-2

Quantum theory, Bohr model, operators, wave functions

*1/22 W


Problem Session 1 (Bright – Nguyen)

Uncertainty principle, Schrödinger equation, probability, normalization, expectation value

1/24 F 


Procedures for finding wave functions, particle in a box

1/27 M 


Tunneling, 3D particle in a box, degeneracy

1/29 W 

18.7-18.8, 17.6

Degeneracy, partition functions, translational partition function

1/31 F


Quiz 1

Harmonic oscillator

2/3 M

11.4, 18.4

Harmonic oscillator, vibrational partition function

2/5 W 


Reduced mass, 2D rigid rotors, angular momentum operator

*2/7 F 

11.9-11.11, 18.5-6

Problem Session 2 (Schneider – Wechsler)

3D rigid rotor, rotational partition function

2/10 M


Hydrogen atom, hydrogen atom wavefunctions

2/12 W


Stern-Gerlach experiment, spin, spin orbitals, helium atom, Pauli principle

2/14 F 


Quiz 2

Slater determinants, Aufbau principle, perturbation theory

Bonding – Qualitative Models, Approximations, Computational Chemistry

*2/17 M 


Perturbation theory, variational principle

*2/19 W


Problem Session 3 (Bright – Nguyen)

Linear variation theory, Born-Oppenheimer, LCAO-MO theory

2/21 F


No Class

2/24 M 



2/26 W


Molecular orbital theory, Hückel approximation, p systems

2/28 F


Computational chemistry

*3/2 M 


Problem Session 4 (Schneider – Wechsler)

Molecular symmetry – operators and point groups, group theory

3/4 W


Group theory, character tables, small molecule bonding

Spectroscopy and Statistical Thermodynamics – Vibrational, Rotational, Electronic

3/6 F


Transition moment, selection rules, rotational spectroscopy

*3/9 M 


Quiz 3

Morse potential, rovibrational spectroscopy

*3/11 W 


Symmetry and vibrational/Raman spectroscopy

3/13 F


No class

3/23 M 

14.13-14.18, 18.3

Symmetry and vibrational/Raman spectroscopy, electronic partition functions

3/25 W


Atomic spectroscopy, term symbols, selection rules, molecular spectroscopy

3/27 F


Molecular spectroscopy

*3/30 M 


Problem Session 5 (Bright – Nguyen)

Molecular spectroscopy, absorption/emission spectroscopy

4/1 W 


Einstein coefficients, line broadening, fluorescence/phosphorescence

4/3 F 



4/6 M


Stimulated emission, lasers

4/8 W 

21.1-21.6, 21.9, Smart

Lattices, symmetry, space groups, reciprocal space, Bragg equation

*4/10 F

21.9, Smart

Problem Session 6 (Schneider – Wechsler)

X-ray diffraction, close-packed structures, crystal structure

Materials and Solid State Chemistry

4/13 M

21.9, Smart

Crystal structure, structure factors

4/15 W

21.9, Smart

Band theory, conduction, doping, p-n junction, extrinsic defects, nonstoichiometry

4/17 F 


Nonstoichiometry, superconductivity, ionic conductivity, solid electrolytes

4/20 M 


Quiz 4

Solid electrolytes

4/22 W


Batteries, fuel cells

4/24 F 



*4/27 M 


Problem Session 7 (Open – for makeup or 1% bonus)


8:00 4/30 R


FINAL EXAM (cumulative)

Hehre, W. Computational Chemistry, in Quantum Chemistry & Spectroscopy; Engel. T.; Pearson: New York, 2013; pp 339-394.

Smart, L.E. and Moore, E.A. Solid State Chemistry: An Introduction, 3rd. ed.; Taylor & Francis: New York, 2005; pp 155-242, 293-312, 355-376. (chapters 4,5,8,11)