CHEM 780 : Advanced Materials Chemistry


2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A selection of topics on the chemistry of advanced materials, including novel polymeric materials and materials characterisation and analysis. No formal prerequisite, but knowledge of materials chemistry at the level covered in CHEM 380 will be assumed.

Course Overview

The CHEM780 is the only material chemistry focused course offered by School of Chemical Sciences at postgraduate level. Building on the basis of CHEM380, this course bridges the attribute of chemical structure of bulk molecules and its collective property as a bulk material.  

After taking this course, you will gain deep knowledge of the structural-property relationship, and ultimately, come up with better molecular design and synthesis of materials with improved desirable physical properties.  A selection of topics on the chemistry of advanced solid state materials, including the optical, magnetic properties of inorganic crystalline materials, electrically conducting polymeric materials for sensing and actuation, and thin-film technologies for molecular separation and energy related membrane applications.  This course is good preparation for anyone wanting to do postgraduate study in the fields of material science and engineering and the skills developed in this course are particularly useful for those wishing to have a career involving high value manufacturing industry or related research organizations.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe in details foundational concepts in chemistry relevant to the 3 topics covered (Capability 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  2. Present and discuss recent literatures on the advancement of materials chemistry in the relevant areas (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  3. Identify and describe the contemporary cutting edge research done in advanced materials chemistry (Capability 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Freely integrate, selectively apply, and critically assess ideas and research at an advanced level (Capability 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Explain and communicate research articles in the areas of advanced materials chemistry (Capability 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 30% Individual Coursework
Presentation 20% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Final Exam


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Key Topics

This course consists of 3 topics:

Topic #1

Advanced Inorganic Materials - Structure and Bonding -- Dr Sam Yick

(8 Lectures + 1 Tutorial)

Basic definitions in the solid: Lattice, Bravais lattices, symmetry operations, point groups, space groups • Pauling rules, lattice energy, Madelung constant, electrostatic valence principle • Elementary band theory of solids: The nearly-free electron model, particle in a one and three-dimensional box • Electronic absorption spectra of solids. • Hückel approximation for molecules. The Fermi level. • The reciprocal lattice, the Brillouin zone. Orbitals and bands in 1D solids, 2D and 3D structures, lattice distortions. • Electronic conductivity in solids, Krogman's salt: a quasi-one-dimensional material.

Topic #2

Polymer Electronics – Prof. Jadranka Travas-Sejdic and Prof. Paul Kilmartin

(8 Lectures + 1 Tutorial)

An introduction to the application of intelligent polymeric materials in plastic electronics will be presented. The focus will be on conducting polymer-based materials and devices, including fundamental studies related to synthesis procedures, conduction mechanisms and structural characterisation using spectroscopic techniques. The electrochemical properties of conducting polymers in the polypyrrole, polythiophene and polyaniline families will be outlined, along with the ability to produce a nanostructured form of these materials. A range of prospective applications will be considered, including energy conversion, biosensing, bioelectronics electroluminescence and microactuators.

Topic #3

Polymer Membranes– Dr Jianyong Jin

(8 Lectures + 1 Tutorial)

Various polymer-based membrane technologies, their theoretic principle, membrane materials synthesis and characterisation. Based on the lecturer's past industrial experience, this course will mainly focus on two major membrane applications: gas separation membrane and hydrogen fuel cell membrane.

Special Requirements

There is no special requirements.

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.

For this course, you can expect 24 hours of lectures, 3 hours of tutorial, 30 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 60 hours of work on assignments, oral presentation and test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including lectures/tutorials/presentation to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

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.

The course material will be the handouts and literature papers provided by individual lecturers.  There is no course book.

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.

We continue to seek to improve our content delivery and learning experience of the students. 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 for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, 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.

Lectures and tutorials are normally delivered in person. However, in the extraordinary circumstances, all teaching and assessment can be carried out remotely. Students will be notified by canvas if this occurs

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 01/02/2024 09:41 a.m.