Chem 437 Syllabus

Syllabus, Spring 2013

Prof. Steven Brown

Office: 239 Brown Laboratory   Office Hours: T 1100, T R 1300-1400

Voice mail: 831-6861 


Spring 2013 

1400-1515 TR  

207 BrL


Texts & Resources


Required Texts and other Items:

Principles of Instrumental Analysis, by D.A. Skoog, F.J. Holler, and S.R. Crouch., 6th Ed., Brooks Cole 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0-495-01201-6.

This book is designated as S in the schedule and assignments.

Quantitative Chemical Analysis,by D.C. Harris, 8th Ed., W.H. Freeman and Co., New York, NY, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1-4292-1815-3.

This book is designated as DCH in the schedule and assignments.You should still have a copy of this book from Chem 120/220.

i>Clicker We will use clickers in this course, and access to your own clicker is required. Bring your clicker to every class every day. For more info about clickers, see the FAQ page.

The clicker is available from the UD Bookstore or other vendors. The i>clicker packaging instructs students to register the device at the website, but UD students should register clickers locally. You can register with the Sakai i>clicker tool on this site or you can use RollCall on UDSIS. Complete instructions for both registration options can be found in the pdf files included with UD software.

 There will also be readings from handouts and papers from the literature available for download at the Chem 437 site on Sakai.

You will need to be registered for the course as a student or as a listener to gain access to the Sakai site.

Learning Resources:

This course will be recorded to allow repeated viewing.

Full lecture notes will be made available in advance in PDF format online, through Sakai. You are expected to attend lecture and to read material that I provide.

Student feedback on instruction:

I will ask for student feedback at midterm for course/instructor improvement purposes. There will also be an end-of-term student evaluation with a supplement to departmental student evaluation form.

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Catalog Description

Chemistry 437 is an overview course covering a variety of methods of analysis using chemical instrumentation. As a required course for the Chemistry and Biochemistry undergraduate majors, the course is intended for third-year, undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors or for well-prepared students in closely allied fields. The emphasis is on the principles and practical application of instrumental transducers for quantitative determination of chemical compounds. This course presumes knowledge of basic physics and electronics, chemical nomenclature and some prior exposure to classical chemical analyses done using titrimetric or gravimetric methods. Concepts such as figures of merit of an analysis are introduced to provide a framework for a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages offered by various transducer systems used to relate physical properties to quantitiation of a target analyte in different sample matrices. Methods covered in the overview of instrumental analysis include a variety of spectroscopic methods, surface analysis, and electrochemical methods.

Course Requirements and Policies

This course is an introduction to chemical instrumentation and its use in quantitative and qualitative analysis of complex samples.

Each homework set will involve some theory, some calculation and may involve some critcal evaluation of results.

Course Policies

Academic Honesty:

You are encouaged to become familiar with The University’s Policy of Academic Honesty found in the UD Student Guide to University Policies. More on the whole issue of academic integrity can be found here. Policies delineated in the Catalog apply to this course. While homework sets for Chem 437 can be done in collaboration with others enrolled in the course, all answers should be your own and all work on the examinations must be done entirely independently. By turning work into the instructor of this course, you acknowledge being made aware of the academic honesty policy and affirm your adherence to the letter and spirit of the policy.

Clicker Question Policy:

Each class, there will be several clicker questions embedded in the lecture. Your response to these questions will be recorded and your answers will determine the clicker score you earn for the course. The score is determined as follows: any incorrect answer to a clicker question scores as 1 clicker point, but a correct answer scores as 10 clicker points. The clicker score will be determined by the total clicker points/(10*total clicker questions). A clicker score of 50% or higher earns 30 points. Scores between 0 and 50% earn a corresponding fraction of the 30 points. A percentage of 0% earns 0 points. Clicker points cannot be made up, even for excused absences. You may not re-take clicker questions to improve your score.

While consultation and collaboration between students is encouraged in answering the clicker questions, use of any clicker other than your own to answer clicker questions is considered and treated as a violation of academic honesty. All clicker questions given in lecture prior to an exam are considered material subject to examination even those these questions will NOT appear on the published notes. You can hear and see the clicker questions – and get their answers – in the recordings of the lectures.


Collaboration is allowed – even encouraged – on homework, but all answers submitted must be your own. Any identical/duplicate (e.g., xeroxed or copied word-for-word) answers submitted may be penalized, in accordance with the published academic honesty policy. Homework deadlines are posted and you are expected to meet these deadlines. If you have a problem and cannot make the deadline, please let the instructor know. I may be able to allow some extra time for a once-only problem. Late work will generally be penalized. Work missed for a reason (documented illness, conference travel, etc.) can be made up without penalty. You are expected to submit carefully-prepared solutions to all problems. Answers should be clearly indicated and all work shown. Credit is awarded for graded questions as follows: a (mostly) correct solution will receive 2 points, an incorrect answer that results from good effort toward a solution will receive 1 point, and a poor effort (or no solution) will receive 0 points. No credit will usually be given for work submitted after the solutions are posted on Sakai.

Any homework assigned with a due date prior to the date of an exam is eligible for inclusion on that exam if the solutions are posted on Sakai at least 48 hrs prior to the exam.

Attendance and Excused Absences Policy:

Though formal attendance is not taken at lecture, you are expected to attend all scheduled lectures. Information provided in lecture may not always be duplicated on the class web site. You will be responsible for all information given in lecture, whether or not you are in attendance.

The class policy on absences follows the University policy, which can be found here. Any absences from exams should be announced, if possible, in advance of the exam, and the student missing an exam will need to provide an excuse note to be offered a make-up exam. Absences will be excused for medical reasons (serious illness requiring a doctor’s care), family emergencies, some University sanctioned events, and employer-required absences. Scheduled absences must be made known in writing to the course instructor in advance so that arrangements can be made for adjustment of due dates of class and laboratory assignments. Scheduled absences may require an e-mail from the Dean’s Office or from the employer to support student claims.

Minor absences may be excused at the discretion of the course instructor on a case by case basis, depending on the reason for the absence and what course material is missed.

Special Accomodations:

Students requesting special accomodations in Chem 437 must already be registered with UD’s Disabilities Support Services or Academic Enrichment Center, as appropriate. Those students should contact the course instructor well in advance of any course activity to arrange for special accomodations that follow the terms of the arrangements set by the Support staff.

E-Mail Policy:

The instructor does not use twitter, text messaging or other social media, so important notices and correction of errors will be sent to the e-mail distribution list for the class to provide the fastest dissemination of the information. The registrar will include your campus e-mail account on these class distribution lists, so plan to check it regularly.

I make every effort to repond promptly to e-mailed questions or concerns from students. Be aware that because University filters may trap and remove mail – especially external mail – under some circumstances, I may not receive or be able to respond to e-mail originating from some off-campus e-mail accounts.

Cell Phone and Laptop Policy:

Placing and especially receiving phone calls, or using laptops/phones/tablets to check facebook accounts and texting in class is disruptive and discourteous to your fellow students and to the instructor. You are welcome to bring a smartphone, tablet or laptop to use in following or recording lectures and you may use it to find an answer to clicker questions, but you may not access a smartphone, laptop or tablet for other purposes.

Note: Accessing a laptop, cell phone, tablet, ipod or any other pda during any Chem 437 exam may result in the immediate expulsion of the student from the exam.

Grading, Evaluation Policies and Procedures:

The course will be marked on the basis of your performance on homework, on clicker questions, on the best 2 of 3 midterm exams and on a final exam. The grade given will be determined on the basis of the total number of points earned.

The distribution of points is as follows:

Task                                                                Points

Homework (15 sets, each worth 10 pts):         150 pts

Clicker points:                                                   30 pts

MidTerm Exams (lowest score is dropped):     200 pts

Final Examination (5/16-5/23/13):                   120 pts

TOTAL:                                                        500 pts

All grade disputes must be submitted no later than 5 business days after the graded work has been returned to you. A decision on the dispute will be made promptly and the new grade will be made available to you on Sakai.

Grading Scale:

    > 425 pts   A

375-424 pts   B

250-374 pts   C

200-249 pts   D

     < 200 pts   F

(+ and – grades are given; boundaries for these are determined by student performance)

The average grade earned by previous students in this course offered by this instructor has been B-.


Tentative Schedule for Lectures:

All lectures are scheduled for 1400-1515 TR in 207 Brown Laboratory.

This schedule is approximate and may vary to reflect scheduling changes and student needs.

Week  of

Topics to be Covered

 Reading Assignment


Figures of Merit, Errors, Least Squares

S-1, S-Appendix 1,

DCH-4, DCH-5


Signal Processing, EMR, Spectroscopy

S-5, DCH-17


 Spectroscopy, continued

S-6, DCH-18


Spectroscopic instrumentation, UV-Vis Spectroscopy

S-7, S-13, S-14, DCH-19



S-15, Exam #1* (3/7/13)


Atomic Spectroscopy

S-8, S-9, S-10, DCH-20


Vibrational Spectroscopy

S-16, S-17, S-18


No Lectures – Spring Break

No assignment


Mass Spectroscopy

S-11, S-20, DCH-21


Surface Spectroscopy

S-12, S-21

Exam #2* (4/9/13)


Chromatography 1-Theory

S-26, S-27, DCH-22


Chromatography 2 – GLC, LC

S-27, S-28, DCH-23


Chromatography 3 -LC, Electrophoresis

S-29, S-30,  DCH-24, DCH-25


Electrochemistry 1- potentiometry

S-22, S-23, DCH-14,

Exam #3* (5/9/13)


Electrochemistry 2- voltammetry and coulometry

Final Examination* 5/21/13 1300-1500

S-24, S-25, DCH-16

Review Course Materials

*Exam is “open help sheet” – a single 8.5″ x 11″ page of material (both sides) may be used on the exam

(N.B. the help sheet is graded: 0, 5 or 10 points are awarded based on the organization and effort shown in preparation of the sheet)


General course information

Course pre-requisites:

Prerequisite courses are Chem 322 or Chem 334 and concurrent enrollment in Chem 418 or Chem 443. This course presumes some basic knowledge of chemical instrumentation at the level of Chem 120 or 220/221.

Students should also have had an exposure to basic physics as covered in Phys 201-202 and elementary statistics as covered in Chem 115/120/220.

Course Description:

Study of the principles of design and application of spectroscopic, chromatographic and electroanalytical techniques to the solution of chemical problems. A required, three-credit, survey course intended for majors in Chemistry and Biochemistry or closely related subjects.

Course Objectives:

Students completing this course should be able to understand and critically evaluate basic instrumental measurement techniques from spectroscopy, chromatography and related separation techniques, and electrochemistry. Students should also understand how figure of analytical merit concepts allow selection of measurement methodology and should be able to perform basic calibration calculations for an instrumental analysis.

Completion of this course will provide the student a foundation for more advanced work or research in measurement-oriented chemistry.

Departmental Objectives:

This course meets Departmental Objectives 1 and 6.

Teaching Assistant Information:





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Last Updated: 28 January 2013

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