2019 Chemical Physics

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Physics
Kanamori Hideto 
Course component(s)
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon1-2(H116)  Thr1-2(H116)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

The aim of chemical physics is to build a bridge between physics and chemistry, by establishing physical understanding of chemical phenomena. Among others, the most exciting phenomena in chemistry are chemical equilibrium and chemical reaction, i.e., break down and creation of chemical bonds. This course covers thermo-mechanics and statistical physics of open system of multi-components and quantum mechanics of electrons in material.

In our daily life in which influence of nuclear reactions is very limited, the smallest units that constitute the whole world of matter are positively charged nuclei and negatively charged electrons. The spatial distribution of mass is determined by heavier nuclei, while lighter electrons are flying among the nuclei to keep them in position. If the dynamics of electron is correctly described, the physical properties of matter will be understood properly. As the understanding becomes deeper, some of the properties become possible to control. This is what happened in the 20th century, which started togwther with the birth of quantum mechanics. Nowadays technology like semi-conductor-based integrated circuits florishes so much that modern life without such electronic devices is hard to imagine.

Student learning outcomes

At the end of this course, the students will be able to
1) master the quantum theory of angular momentum including orbital electron, rotation, electron spin and nuclear spin.
2) master the interaction among those angular momenta, and understand the eigenstate and eigenvalue of molecules.
3) explain the electronic, vibrational and rotational spectra as the result of the interaction with UV, IR and MW radiation.
4) Explain the intermolecular dispersion force and the intramolecular force of chemical bond in terms of quantum mechanics of electrons.
5) Explain a chemical reaction by collision dynamics on the adiabatic potential surfce.


Molecular bond, Born-Oppenheimer Approx., Molecular orbital, electron configuration, molecular spectrum, quantum statistics, inter molecular force, chemical reaction

Competencies that will be developed

Intercultural skills Communication skills Specialist skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills
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Class flow

A lecture note with several blanks is provided before each class. Instead of black board, explanations are directly written on projected screen by a pen tablet computer. Listening the explanation, students fill the blanks and make it as a complete lecture note.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 H2 molecule; angular momentum and wave function of single electron system Quantum mechanical treatment for the angular momentum including spin.
Class 2 He atom; wave-function with two electron-system Exchange symmetry of the equivalent particles
Class 3 Many electrons atomic system; angular momenta of excited states Explain the origin of the periodic table.
Class 4 Chemical bond and molecular orbitals roots of the chemical bonding
Class 5 Vibrational and rotational states of H2 ion. Freedom and treatment of nuclear motion. Exchange symmetry of equivalent nuclei.
Class 6 Description of quantum state and its energy eigenvalue. Hierarchy in the energy structure of molecules
Class 7 Molecular symmetry of poly-atomic molecules and group theory Point group and how to use irreducible presentation
Class 8 Inversion motion of NH3 time developing of superimposed state.
Class 9 Interaction of electromagnetic wave and molecules Time dependent solution of Schroedinger'eq.
Class 10 Selection rules in the optical transitions allowed and forbidden transition in atoms and molecules.
Class 11 Molecular spectroscopy in the UV, IR and MW regions What determines the intensity of spectral peaks
Class 12 Molecules interacting each other treatment of inter-molecular interactions. Van der Waars force
Class 13 Microscopic view of the liquid and solid phase time scale of inter-molecular interaction in the condensed phase.
Class 14 Molecular collision and chemical reactions Micro and Macroscopic theores of reaction dynamics
Class 15 Chemical reaction dynamics Trajectory on adiabatic potential surface


None specified.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Provided during class.
Chemical Physics;Atkins (Oxford)

Assessment criteria and methods

Evaluated by a final examination and small report at each class.

Related courses

  • PHY.Q207 : Introduction to Quantum Mechanics
  • PHY.Q208 : Quantum Mechanics II
  • PHY.Q311 : Quantum Mechanics III
  • PHY.E205 : Electromagnetism
  • PHY.S301 : Statistical Mechanics

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

Learning this course based with "Introduction in quantum mechanics" and reminding "Quantum mechanics II"

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