Chem 81 Course Outline

Chem 81 covers the basic applications of quantum mechanics to chemistry - atoms, molecules, and the interaction of light with matter on the molecular scale. These topics form one-third of the broad area of physical chemistry, the other two being equilibrium chemical thermodynamics, macroscopic solid and liquid structure, and statistical mechanics plus non-equilibrium dynamics (chemical kinetics, transport phenomena, collision phenomena, and other macroscopic situations away from equilibrium).

Here's a rough outline of the topics we'll cover, week by week. See the calendars (click on any week to go to the correct calendar) for details and reading assignments, and see the homework page for problem assignments.


  1. Chapter 11: The historical foundation of quantum mechanics. The postulates, language, and syntax of quantum mechanics.
  2. Chapter 11: Non-classical (and non-intuitive) quantum phenomena. Chapter 12: Basic model systems in one or more dimensions.
  3. Chapter 12: Angular momentum, the hydrogen atom, and particle spin.
  4. Chapter 13: Exchange symmetry and the Pauli Principle. Introduction to atomic He. Approximation methods.
  5. Chapter 13: Many-electron atoms and atomic energy levels. Chapter 14: Born-Oppenheimer approximation, MOs, LCAOs, molecular hydrogen.
  6. Chapter 14: Molecular Virial Theorem, photoelectron spectroscopy, homonuclear and heteronuclear diatomics, Hückel MO theory, Walsh's rules, hybrid MOs.
  7. Chapter 18: Radiation, absorption and emission, selection rules, atomic spectroscopy. Chapter 19: Small molecule spectroscopy, molecular term symbols.
  8. Chapter 19: Diatomic rotation/vibration spectroscopy, polyatomic spectroscopy, electronic spectroscopy.
  9. Chapter 20: Large molecule spectroscopy, density of states, condensed phase spectra. Chapter 21: NMR
  10. Chapter 21: NMR, Fourier transform methods, ESR. Review of entire course.

Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 John S. Winn. All rights reserved. Last updated September 1, 2001.