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Spectroscopy (SP)


Up to date schedule information

Core course in MSc Chemistry – Energy & Sustainability, elective course MSc Chemistry, MSc Life Science and Technology, minor programme MST.


Spectroscopy is a collective term for scientific techniques that investigate the interaction of matter with radiation. In this course the general principles of spectroscopy are explained and the student will learn to correlate spectroscopic data with the quantum mechanical description of the matter investigated, and vice versa. Main topics are: molecular symmetry, group theory, atomic spectroscopy, UV/Vis spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy.

Learning objectives

  • The student is able to determine the (most important) quantum states of a given material (atoms, small molecules) and can assign these states to energy Terms.

  • The student is able to determine which quantum state(s) belong(s) to the ground state.

  • The student can rationalize which transitions between quantum states as a result of an absorption, emission or scattering event have a more than zero probability of taking place.

  • The student can determine which atomic orbitals, molecular orbitals, vibrational normal modes and energy terms belong to a particular irreducible representation and rationalize from there which transitions in vibrational and electronic spectroscopy are symmetry forbidden.

  • The student is able to determine which vibrational motion belongs to a particular transition in the infrared region.

  • The student is able to qualitatively predict which signals are to be observed in the rotational, vibrational or electronic spectrum of various materials ranging from single atoms (atomic spectroscopy) to large molecules (IR, Raman, UV-vis spectroscopy).

Admission requirements

Theoretical Chemistry 1 or an equivalent course


Note that part of the course is “self-study”

  • J. Michael Hollas, “Modern Spectroscopy”, Wiley, 4th Edition, 978-0-470-84416-8

  • Alan Vincent, “Molecular Symmetry and Group Theory”, 2nd Edition, 978-0-471-48939-9

Assessment method

Written exam


Dennis Hetterscheid