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CH40242: Preparation for chemistry research

[Page last updated: 21 April 2022]

Academic Year: 2022/3
Owning Department/School: Department of Chemistry
Credits: 15 [equivalent to 30 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 300
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 20%, DS 50%, OR 30%
Assessment Detail:
  • Data Interpretation and Manipulation (CW 20%)
  • Oral Presentation (OR 30%)
  • Written Literature Report (DS 50%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Requisites: While taking this module you must take CH40167
In taking this module you cannot take CH40164 OR take CH40165
Learning Outcomes: After studying the Unit, students should be able to:
* Survey current relevant literature using appropriate databases e.g. SciFinder, Web of Knowledge
* Present results in both oral and written formats and place them into context of other researchers' work
* Critically evaluate results, draw appropriate conclusions and identify areas for future research
* have gained a basic understanding of crystallographic detail as reported in primary literature.
* be familiar with CIF and RES file formats.
* be competent with crystallographic display software that enables calculation of derived structural parameters from structural data files.
* be able to generate publication quality molecular and lattice packing plots for crystal structures.
* understand the importance of mass spectrometry as an analytical tool, along with an appreciation of the application areas where it is used.
* be able to explain the basic operation mechanisms of several modern mass spectrometric analysers
* be able to interpret a basic mass spectrum in positive and negative mode, including simple fragmentation patterns.
* understand the principles of how pulsed NMR works, using the vector model.
* understand common problems encountered in the day-to-day acquisition and processing of NMR spectra, how to solve them, and therefore how to achieve more satisfactory results.
* have a knowledge of advanced NMR methods, with a focus on recently developed techniques.
* students will also demonstrate the ability to conduct experiments relevant to their chosen project area.

Aims: To allow students to develop the skills necessary for preparing a practical research project typical of research in an academic environment. To further develop and reinforce the skills necessary for research work. To develop the students ability to communicate scientific data and literature in both oral and written form. The unit will also provide training in three important techniques - X-ray crystallography, mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy - that are essential to the modern research chemist. The unit will allow students to be more familiar with modern research methods employed within specific research groups.

Skills: Research methods (T,F,A), Numeracy (F, A), Problem solving (T, F, A)
Scientific writing (F, A), Independent working (F).

Content: A research topic will be selected in conjunction with a supervising member of staff and the student will then carry out a literature survey of the relevant background and present a critical written appraisal of it. The student will present a concise summary of the survey in an oral presentation. There will be 9 lectures on the techniques, with 'hands on' training and directed reading. The student will also be expect to spend time in the research laboratories to develop analytical, synthetic or computational methods.

Programme availability:

CH40242 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Chemistry


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2022/23 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2023/24 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2022/23.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
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