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Spectroscopy (SP)


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


Spectroscopy is a collective term for scientific techniques that investigate the interaction of matter with irradiation. 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.

At the end of the course students:

  • will have knowledge of fundamental principles in spectroscopy

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

  • 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.

  • are 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).

  • 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.

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

Mode of Instruction

Lectures, self-study and exercises


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

  • Slides presented during the courses

  • Exercises

Assessment method

Written exam

Admission requirements

Bsc in MST with a major in Chemistry. Other candidates should have taken the course "theoretische chemie" or an equivalent course on quantum chemistry.


Dennis Hetterscheid