CHEM 710 : Advanced Physical Chemistry


2023 Semester One (1233) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Covers modern areas of research in physical chemistry and may include solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), X-ray spectroscopic techniques commonly used in materials science (including synchrotron-based X-ray absorption, emission and scattering techniques), and computational chemistry with applications in heterogeneous catalysis.

Course Overview

Advanced Physical Chemistry (S1, 15 points)

CHEM 710
Prerequisites: No formal prerequisites but a good understanding of chemical concepts encountered at stage 3 will be assumed.
This is a modular course that is delivered during semester 1 of the academic year. The course comprises topics in physical, inorganic, organic, and analytical chemistry related to School research interests.
Students satisfactorily completing the course will be awarded 15 points.
CHEM 710 covers modern areas of research in physical chemistry, which include solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (SSNMR), X-ray spectroscopic techniques commonly used in materials science (including synchrotron-based X-ray absorption, emission, and scattering techniques), and the additional module TBA. The lectures are punctuated with modern, cutting-edge research to illustrate the utility of these fundamental pillars of physical chemistry.
Lecture times for individual modules will be posted on Canvas and around noticeboards within the School at least one week before the semester starts.
In the event of a change to a higher alert level, all lectures will be supplemented by live Zoom sessions in the original timetable slot. The scheduled tests will be conducted as online tests and will be available for 24 hours, starting at the original scheduled date and time.
A course representative will be appointed for this modular course at the start of each semester, as arranged via Canvas.
Students are urged to discuss privately any impairment-related requirements face-to-face and/or in written form with the course convenor/lecturer and/or tutor.
Students will be asked to provide feedback on the course and individual modules through anonymous questionnaires.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain and critically evaluateresults obtained obtained in experiments (Capability 2 and 3)
  2. Understand and describe the connection between the background and experimental work (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Independently research, analyse, and communicate the results of their research to a range of audiences (Capability 2, 4 and 6)
  4. Identify and critically evaluate the significance of a related discipline in society and bussines (Capability 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Be able to critically discuss problems related to health, safety andenvironment (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Analyse and apply teoretical and practical knowledge acquired during the course (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 50% Individual Coursework
Assignments 50% Individual Coursework
Quizzes Individual Coursework
Tutorials Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of chemical sciences aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection) and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.

Tuākana Chemistry runs a range of activities for students enrolled in this class. This includes weekly workshops, social activities, and opportunities to engage with senior students and researchers within the School of Chemical Sciences. Tuākana-eligible students will be added automatically to the Tuākana Chemistry program when they enroll in this course. For more information, please see the Tuākana program website or email

Key Topics

Modules offered for CHEM 710 in 2023
This is a provisional list and updated information regarding the third module will be available ASAP. 

Nuclear Spin Interactions: the molecular structure and dynamics of solids explored by solid-state NMR
(8 lectures; 1 tutorial) – Dr. Zoran Zujovic (email:
SSNMR is a multinuclear technique with unique abilities and significant theoretical and practical advances in the past several years. This results in ever-increasing interest in applying SSNMR to various disciplines such as physical chemistry, materials science, biology, etc.
This module will explore the unique potential of SSNMR for the structural and dynamic investigation of soft and either amorphous or crystalline solids. Nuclear spin interactions, such as Shielding or Chemical Shift Interaction, Quadrupolar Interaction, Dipolar Coupling, Spin-Spin, and Spin-Lattice, will be related to data acquired on various materials investigated in our School over the past twenty years: Pharmaceuticals, Aluminosilicates (geopolymers, volcanic rocks based materials-perlite), Aluminophosphates - Glass-ceramics, Silicates, Polymers (advanced copolymers, conducting polymers, packaging materials), Mechanism of formation and the structure of self-assembled nanomaterials, Biological and natural materials – plant cell walls, bark materials, egg-shells.
Mode of Teaching & Learning: Lectures with a practically oriented approach
Basic Reading List: Talis Reading List
Assessment: Assignment (30 %) and a one-hour test (70 %).

Introduction to the principles and practice of X-ray diffraction for the determination of the three-dimensional structure of crystalline solids (8 lectures; 1 tutorial) – Professor Tilo Soehnel (email: )
X-ray crystallography is the most accurate way of determining the positions of atoms and molecules in crystalline solids. The technique can be used to determine the three-dimensional structure of simple molecules, natural products, metal complexes, proteins, and viruses. This unit introduces crystallographic symmetry and space groups. The phase problem will be outlined along with the Patterson method for structure solution.
Basic Reading List: Talis Reading List
Assessment:  (X %) and  (X %).


Special Requirements

The special requirements for each module will be provided by corresponding lecturers.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15-point course that they are enrolled in.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience or Online

This course is offered in two delivery modes:

Campus Experience

Attendance is [required/expected] at scheduled activities including [labs/tutorials/studios/clinics] to [complete/receive credit for] components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including [seminars/tutorials/labs/studios] will [be available/not be available] as recordings.
The course [will/will not] include live online events including [group discussions/tutorials].
Attendance on campus is [required/not required] for the [test/exam].
The activities for the course are scheduled as a [standard weekly timetable/block delivery].


Attendance is [required/expected] at scheduled online activities including [labs/tutorials/studios/clinics] to [complete/receive credit for] components of the course.
The course [will/will not] include live online events including [group discussions/tutorials/lectures] and these will be recorded.
Attendance on campus is [required/not required] for the [test/exam].
Where possible, study material will [be available at course commencement/be released progressively] throughout the course.
This course runs to the University semester/quarter timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).
Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.
Learning resources will be given in a Talis reading list. Each module will have a specific reading list. 

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

This is a new course as it has been restructured. The lecturers will make changes where appropriate, which will be included in the specific information regarding each module in this course.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 01/11/2022 09:36 a.m.