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Quantum Mechanics of Molecular Structures


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Learn two methods used to determine molecular structures and their properties in this introduction to Quantum Mechanics.

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Knowing the geometrical structure of the molecules around us is one of the most important and fundamental issues in the field of chemistry. This course introduces the two primary methods used to determine the geometrical structure of molecules: molecular spectroscopy and gas electron diffraction.

In molecular spectroscopy, molecules are irradiated with light or electric waves to reveal rich information, including:

  • Motions of electrons within a molecule (Week 1),
  • Vibrational motions of the nuclei within a molecule (Week 2), and
  • Rotational motions of a molecule (Week 3).

In the gas electron diffraction method, molecules are irradiated with an accelerated electron beam. As the beam is scattered by the nuclei within the molecule, the scattered waves interfere with each other to generate a diffraction pattern. In week 4, we study the fundamental mechanism of electron scattering and how the resulting diffraction images reveal the geometrical structure of molecules.

By the end of the course, you will be able to understand molecular vibration plays an important role in determining the geometrical structure of molecules and gain a fuller understanding of molecular structure from the information obtained by the two methodologies.

  • Two major methods to determine the geometrical structure of molecules in the gas phase: molecular spectroscopy and gas electron diffraction
  • How to quantize various motions of molecules, extract the quantized energy levels, and determine the geometrical structure of molecules from the spectrum
  • The fundamental mechanism of electron scattering on the basis of quantum mechanics and how to determine the geometrical structure of molecules from gas electron diffraction images

 

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