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Courses Taught

Chem 301: Physical Chemistry I

A lecture course covering the laws of thermodynamics, with emphasis on their application to chemical systems. Topics considered include thermochemistry, equations of state, physical and chemical equilibrium, electrochemistry, kinetic theory of gases, chemical kinetics and the theory of rate processes. Chem 301 serves to provide its students with a fundamental understanding of the physical descriptions of chemical systems.  The course is designed to answer questions like: Will a chemical reaction occur and how much energy will be released (or consumed) in the process? How fast will the reaction be? Can changes in conditions be used to alter the chemical outcome? Detailed descriptions of the laws of thermodynamics will be presented and applied to numerous chemical systems.  This course is designed as a lecture series in which open discussion of the topics is strongly encouraged.  Discussions will build on the freshman chemistry curriculum and are designed to give students the background required to understand the experiments presented in CHEM 311L – Advanced Laboratory I.

Chem 302: Physical Chemistry II

This class serves to provide its students with a fundamental understanding of the quantum mechanical description of chemical systems and their spectroscopy.  A detailed description of the quantum mechanics will be presented and applied to several important model systems.  This class builds on freshman chemistry and thermodynamics, CHEM 301, and is designed to give students the background necessary to understand the experiments presented in CHEM 312L – Advanced Laboratory II.  The course is designed as a lecture series in which open discussion of the topics is strongly encouraged.  By the end of the course, you should (1) develop an appreciation for where and how quantum mechanics arose; (2) know how it is used to provide the basis for atomic and molecular structure that we have come to learn about since freshman chemistry;  and (3) know how spectroscopy is used to probe these structures.

Chem 311L: Advanced Laboratory I

Laboratory exercises encompassing experimental problems in physical chemistry.  Experiments will focus on measuring and analyzing signals that arise from thermodynamic and kinetic phenomena.  Emphasis is placed on the careful measurement and processing of voltages that arise from various signal transduction devices (thermocouples, photon detectors, etc.).  Computer interfacing and DC and AC voltage measurement devices will be used throughout the course.

Chem 312L: Advanced Laboratory II

This laboratory course is designed to build on ideas presented in the first semester physical chemistry courses; Chem 301 and Chem 311L, and to be complementary to Chemistry 302.  A significant fraction of the course will expose students to laboratory techniques.  The course is roughly divided in half; thermodynamic and kinetic aspects of molecular interactions, and spectroscopy.  Upon completion of this course students will have a working understanding of the methods used in modern chemistry laboratories.

Chem 490/684:  Special Topics in Photochemistry

This course will focus upon the fundamental aspects of photophysical and photochemical phenomena.  Fundamental aspects of the creation and fate of electronically excited states will be covered.   The application of modern instrumentation to probe excited-state dynamics will be emphasized.  Topics will include the theory and practical aspects of fluorescence and transient absorption spectroscopies.  Representative topics include the interaction of light with molecular systems to (i) initiate and understand important light-initiated reactions, including photosynthesis, vision, and nucleic acid photochemistry and (ii) develop practical sensors for use in biological or environmental applications.   Readings from the current literature will be used throughout the course to illustrate modern applications of photochemistry.

Chem 490/684:  Introduction to Polymer Chemistry

This course is an introductory polymer chemistry course.  Emphasis will be on fundamental aspects of polymer synthesis, characterization of polymer properties and specialty materials based on different polymer architectures.  Topics will include kinetics of polymerization (free radical, condensation, anionic), thermodynamics of polymeric macromolecules (determination of molecular weight and size, phase diagrams) and photopolymerization and optical properties of polymers.  Current literature will be used to survey useful polymer architectures (nanoparticles, conducting polymers, specialty materials) in the context of fundamental polymer properties.  Intended for upper level chemistry/biochemistry, chemical engineering and physics undergraduate students or graduate students.  Prerequisites:  Chem 352 and Chem 301 or 303; or permission of instructor.