Analytical and Atmospheric Chemistry



This track draws on strong departmental expertise in both theoretical and experimental physical chemistry, with specific applications to atmospheric and environmental chemistry. The combined use of analytical and computational techniques, including molecular dynamics simulations and mass spectrometric methods, results in significant collaborative efforts with other tracks within the department and beyond. The newly formed NSF sponsored Chemical Center for Innovation, Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment, provides unparalleled research and teaching opportunities for graduate students.

Course Offerings:

  • CHEM 230A Quantum Mechanics I (W)
  • CHEM 231 Chemical Kinetics and Molecular Reaction Dynamics (F)
  • CHEM 232A Statistical Mechanics I (F)
  • CHEM 235 Molecular Spectroscopy (S)
  • CHEM 271 Special Topics in Analytical Chemistry (W)
  • CHEM 273 Atmospheric Chemistry (S)
  • SIO 217A Atmospheric Thermodynamics (F)


Course Descriptions

CHEM 230A Quantum Mechanics I (W)

Theoretical basis of quantum mechanics; postulates; wave packets; matrix representations; ladder operators; exact solutions for bound states in 1, 2, or 3 dimensions; angular momentum; spin; variational approximations; description of real one and two electron systems. Recommended background: Chem 133 and Math 20D or their equivalents.

CHEM 231 Chemical Kinetics and Molecular Reaction Dynamics (F)

Classical kinetics, transition state theory, unimolecular decomposition, potential energy surfaces; scattering processes and photodissociation processes. (May not be offered ever year.)

CHEM 232A Statistical Mechanics I (F)

Derivation of thermodynamics from atomic descriptions. Ensembles, fluctuations, classical (Boltzmann) and quantum (Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein) statistics, partition functions, phase space, Liouville equation, chemical equilibrium, applications to weakly interacting systems, such as ideal gases, ideal crystals, radiation fields. Recommended background: Chem 132 or its equivalent. Classical and quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and mathematical methods will be reviewed as needed, but some background will be necessary.

CHEM 235 Molecular Spectroscopy (S)

Time-dependent behavior of systems; interaction of matter with light; selection rules. Radiative and nonradiative processes, coherent phenomena and the density matrices. Instrumentation, measurement, and interpretation. Prerequisites: graduate standing or consent of instructor. (May not be offered every year.)

CHEM 271 Special Topics in Analytical Chemistry (W)

Topics of special interest in analytical chemistry. May include, but is not limited to, chemical separation, sample introductions, mass analyzers, ionization schemes, and current state-of-the-art applications in environmental and biological chemistry.

CHEM 273 Atmospheric Chemistry (S)

(Conjoined with Chem 173.) Chemical principles applied to the study of atmospheres. Atmospheric photochemistry, radical reactions, chemical lifetime determinations, acid rain, greenhouse effects, ozone cycle, and evolution are discussed. Chem 273 students will be required to complete additional assignment/exam beyond that expected of students in Chem 173. Recommended: background comparable to Chem 149A and Chem 132. (S)

SIO 217A Atmospheric Thermodynamics (F)

Thermodynamics and statics of dry and moist air, atmospheric composition, Earth radiation budget, vertical structure of the atmosphere, global energy balance, thermodynamic feedbacks in the climate system. Prerequisites: graduate standing or consent of instructor. (S/U grades permitted.) Russell (F)