Chem 622 Syllabus

Syllabus, Fall, 2017

Prof. Steven D. Brown

Office: 239 Brown Laboratory

Voice mail: 831-6861


Office Hours: 10-11T,R,F

Fall 2017

Course times: 1100-1215 TR

Course location:  205 ISE Laboratory

Texts & Resources

Required course text: A.J. Bard and L.R. Faulkner, Electrochemical Methods, 2nd Ed., Wiley, 2001, available from the UD student bookstore,, , etc. There are many used copies of this standard textbook. A brief search will save some money.

This text is a heavily mathematical, encyclopedic, challenging work. It is also the standard text for any graduate course in electrochemistry, and it is less mathematical than many of the other texts in electrochemistry. Don’t plan to rush though any assigned reading, and plan on homework taking some time to do. You’ll also want to have a good text on physical chemistry available to help make B&F less imposing. You will want access to a computer and knowledge of at least Excel to do some calculations. Electrochemistry is a well-established field and many areas are not changing, so the book has most of what you will need to become competent in the theory of electrochemistry. However, there are some areas of more rapid change and so the book is becoming dated in places. I will supplement the book with current literature as appropriate.

There is a solutions manual published for Bard and Faulkner (you’ll note that it is not actually by Bard or Faulkner) but it is not required or recommended for the course. If you get it anyway to use for homework, please don’t plan to copy the solution from this “solutions” book. The solution, if there is one (only about 25% of the problems are answered/solved in this book) may not always be completely correct. I may deduct for any solution identical to the “book” solution, even if their solution happens to be correct. I want to see your solution, not theirs.


We will use the chemical literature on occasion in this course. You should have access – or make access – to SciFinder Scholar and/or Web of Science to permit easy searching of the literature.

Simulation Resources

I will also ask you to try your hand at some electrochemical simulation, something that has now become commonplace in electrochemical studies – though most commercial simulator packages are quite expensive. A free voltammetry simulator package for MS-DOS and Windows 95 through XP can be found on the Sakai site. This old software requires an unusual hack: it has to be run from an XP gaming software stub or on an old, unpatched copy of Windows 95-XP because it writes to a directory that is now “unallowed” in patched and newer Windows OS versions. The stub can be run on MacOS and Linux or on newer versions of Windows.

I also have source code for a more modern freeware program from Speiser’s lab that we may try out. This is written in C++ and will need to be set up for specific machines, then compiled. I will also provide an EIS simulator. The software will be available on Sakai.

Term Paper Resources

This course has a “term paper” component – I will ask that you prepare a critical, thorough review on something involving electrochemical research. 

You will be asked to submit a one-page “white paper” with an overview of what you plan to write about. I will check that the work is “electrochemical” enough and that you have limited your topic sufficiently, so that you can write what you need in a reasonable number of pages. This white paper will be due about a month prior to the due date for the review. It, and the review, cannot be submitted late without a prior arrangement with me.

Study Tips/Learning Resources

This course involves substantial computation, and you are expected to do this computation and any plotting on a computer rather than with a calculator or by hand. I suggest use of a modern package such as Matlab, R or equivalent, but you can use Excel if you must. I can provide some help with the computation, but you are expected to learn what you need to accomplish most of the calculations. In addition to computation, there is also a component that requires that you use your skills in non-computational math, including derivations and some solution of equations. I will provide some help in the more difficult sections. And, the course involves some technical writing. If your writing skills need some attention, there are places that can help you. We have a Writing Center if you want personalized help.  I can also provide some guidance on the broad aspects of the paper.

Student feedback on instruction

I welcome student feedback on the course, either anonymously or signed. I’ll have a mid-term evaluation to give you a formal opportunity to comment. There will also be the usual end-of-term on-line student feedback, with some supplemental material in addition to the departmental student feedback form

Catalog Description

        Analytical applications of electrochemistry: dynamic and steady-state methods of potentiometry, coloumetry, voltammetry and ancillary techniques.

        Chemistry 622 is a graduate-level, overview course in electrochemistry as applied to chemical analysis. Topics introduced in Chem 622 include

        basic theory of potentiomentric and dynamic voltammetric measurement, the structure of the electrical double-layer and the the theoretical

        description of kinetics of chemical and electrochemical processes occurring at the electrode surface. Methods of measurement that take

        advantage of these processes are discussed in some detail.

Course Requirements

This course involves homework and a term paper in the style of a critical research review for the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry.

Homework is assigned to ensure that students have the opportunity to develop theoretical and quantitative skills needed to read and understand the literature of electrochemistry. Some homework problems are aimed at an exploration of the electrochemical literature or in performing some computation

 The review is a key part of the course. Part of graduate education is developing a critical facility. You will use this to evaluate research – both others’ and your own.  Another important part of a graduate education is developing an ability to communicate complex ideas in relatively few words. To aid you in improving these skills, you are asked to write a critical review paper that involves the use of ANY electroanalytical technique, using the style of the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry. The term paper will be graded for content, format and for grammar. It will also be checked against other published work for originality. 

Students may benefit from having previous coursework in undergraduate instrumental analysis (Chem 437 or equivalent) and prior course experience in physical chemistry (Chem 443 or equivalent).

Course Policies

Students are expected to attend lecture and to complete all assignments on time. While collaboration on homework is encouraged, students must submit their own work for scoring.

I welcome student visits to office hours or other appointments if the student has trouble with the material.

Instructor Absences

The instructor has only one presentation scheduled – and it falls on a Tuesday (November 14th).  I will miss that class. It is not practical to make lectures up, unless the class is willing to attend lectures at 8:00-8:50. If so, we will make up the class on Friday, Nov. 17th. No one else in the department can cover this topic at the level needed, so getting a substitute is not possible.

Academic Honesty

You are encouraged to become familiar with The University’s Policy of Academic Honesty ( in the UD Student Guide to University Policies.More on the whole issue of academic integrity can be found here  ( Policies delineated in the Guide apply to this course.

While homework sets for Chem 622 can be done in collaboration with others in the course, you are expected to submit your own answers, not the results of a group effort or another person’s results, whether or not that person grants you permission. In addition, all written work on the term paper must be your own, and done entirely independently. By submitting work to the instructor of this course, you acknowledge being made aware of the academic honesty policy and affirm your adherence to the policy.

Grading, Evaluation Policies and Procedures

The course will be marked on the basis of your performance on homework, and a research review.

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 Sets and Assessments   (5 x 30 pts)    150 pts

Term Review Paper                                                     150 pts

                                                               TOTAL            300 pts

Prior Chem 622 courses given by this instructor have had an average grade of about 3.5 (B+).


Schedule for Lectures:

     All lectures are scheduled for 1100-1215 TR in 205 ISE Laboratory.

Week  of

Approximate Topics to be Covered*


Overview of Electrochemistry  


Introduction to Electrode Processes


Electrode Processes, Continued




Potentiometry, continued


Electrode Kinetics


Mass Transfer


Potential Step Methods-I


Potential Step Methods-II

White Paper/Outline for review due 10/24/2017.


Cyclic Voltammetry


Polarography and Pulse Voltammetry


Electrode Processes with Coupled Homogeneous Reactions

Instructor away 11/14/2017.


NO CLASS -Thanksgiving Break


AC Polarography and Voltammetry


Electrochemical Impedance “Spectroscopy”

 Review due to Sakai by 4:00 PM EST 12/8/2017.

*N.B.: This schedule is approximate, and the times indicated will be adjusted as  necessary, as dictated by weather, student needs and other factors.

General course information

Course Description

Chem 622 is a lecture course covering electroanalysis at the level of Bard and Faulkner, a standard, if difficult, text used in most graduate programs in analytical chemistry.

Course Objectives

Goals of this course include an understanding of the basic thermodynamics and kinetics involved with an electrode reaction, the exploitation of electrochemical theory in measurements and the ability to evaluate electrochemical measurements critically.

Departmental Objectives

This course meets Departmental Objectives 1-6, 9, 10.

©2014-7 University of Delaware

Page created by S. D. Brown  

Last updated 19 August 2017


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