Course Descriptions

CHEM 521: Analytical Electrochemistry

Credits: 3

This course will provide you with an introduction to the theory and practice of modern electrochemistry, with emphasis on instrumentation and applications in chemical analysis. The main elements of this course will include fundamental electrochemistry theories, basic electrochemical methods and current topics in electroanalytical chemistry focusing on state-of-the-art research in the field. This course will help you establish a solid foundation in electrochemistry and electrochemical analysis.

Topics covered include:

  • Thermodynamics, structure of the electrode/solution interface and electrical double layer, electrode kinetics and mass transport in an electrochemical cell
  • Two popular electrochemical methods: potential step and cyclic voltammetry
  • Current electrochemistry topics such as electrochemiluminescence (ECL), ultramicroelectrode (UME), scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM), nanopore-based methods, bipolar electrochemistry, nanoparticle electrochemistry, single-molecule detection and chemically modified electrode

CHEM 522: Atomic & Molecular Analytical Spectroscopy

Credits: 3

This course will provide you with practical understanding of the principle and implementation of various spectroscopy techniques, with a focus on laser spectroscopy and quantitative analysis. The types of analytical spectroscopy techniques we'll cover include atomic, UV-vis, fluorescence, FRET/FLIM/FCS, IR, Raman, Fourier-transform spectroscopy, nonlinear optical spectroscopy, ultrafast spectroscopy and more.

Areas of focus include:

  • The fundamental principles of spectroscopy, basics of electromagnetic wave, optics, and lasers, principles and applications of quantitative electronic and vibrational spectroscopy techniques, Fourier-transform analysis, correlation analysis and principles of spectroscopic imaging
  • Current research topics such as fluorescence anisotropy, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and pump probe spectroscopy

CHEM 524: Analytical Mass Spectrometry

Credits: 3

This course will provide you with an introduction into the theory and practice of mass spectrometry of organic compounds and biomolecules, including spectra interpretation. It aims to teach you theoretical foundations of modern mass spectrometry and develop skills in spectra interpretation.

Topics covered include:

  • Theory and figures of merit of ionization methods (electron impact, chemical ionization, photoionization, electrospray, matrix-assisted laser desorption)
  • Ionization and ion thermodynamics (proton affinities, gas-phase basicities and acidities)
  • Theory and performance of mass analyzers (time-of-flight, quadrupole filter, quadrupole ion traps, Orbitrap, ion cyclotron resonance)
  • Hyphenated methods (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, tandem mass spectrometry)
  • Methods for ion activation and dissociation (collision-induced dissociation, photodissociation, electron-based methods)
  • Special topics (resonant multiphoton ionization, quantitative tandem-MS assays, ion imaging)
  • Spectra interpretation: The rules and hands-on interpretation of electron-ionization mass spectra of unknown organic compounds and de-novo peptide sequencing

CHEM 525: Meso and Microfluidics in Chemical Analysis

Credits: 3

This course will cover the fundamentals of meso and microfluidics. You'll learn about topics such as laminar flow, surface tension, viscosity, diffusion, partitioning and wetting. We'll discuss droplet-based microfluidics, high-throughput assays, cell-based assays and “organ on a chip” models, among other techniques. You'll explore analytical methods using microfluidics for separation and detection-based assays. You'll be expected to delve into current literature in these topics, and course evaluation will primarily be based on group design projects and a relevant term paper. This course is recommended for students with a strong interest in learning about the latest technologies in fluidics.  

Learning goals, outcomes and evaluation include:

  • Reasoning through microfluidic problems (taking into account device design, calculations, and potential pitfalls and alternative approaches)
  • Critically reviewing journal articles and synthesizing content
  • Communicating science through written work (journal article reviews, proposed experimental designs and a term paper published on Wikipedia) and oral presentations

CHEM 526: Instrumental Analysis

Credits: 3

This course will introduce you to the fundamental theories and designs of various analytical instruments. We'll focus on four major methods of instrumental analysis: optical spectroscopy, chromatography, flow injection analysis and electroanalytical chemistry. You'll also receive extensive laboratory training using these methods.

CHEM 528: Biomolecular Analysis

Credits: 3

This course will introduce you to modern instrumental methods of chemical analysis using examples from the analysis of biological molecules in the context of biomedical research and medical diagnostics. Topics include the principles of operation of the major classes of chemical instrumentation, figures-of-merit for evaluating chemical measurements, and how to use data from chemical measurements to inform decisions in research and medicine. Weekly laboratory projects will train you to operate modern instruments that make use of molecular recognition, separations, spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and other principles, as well as the associated sample preparation and data analysis.

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the principles of operation of the major classes of modern chemical instrumentation
  • Use modern chemical instrumentation in practical settings to analyze real samples
  • Evaluate the performance of chemical measurement in terms of figures of merit, including limit of detection, linear dynamic range and resolution
  • Compare and contrast different measurement approaches for specific analytical situations; and select a measurement approach to guide a decision in the context of biomedical research and medical diagnostics

CHEM 529: Chemical Separation Techniques

Credits: 3

This course will cover the fundamental principles, major advances and recent hot topics of chemical separation techniques and separation science. We’ll introduce the fundamental principles of chromatographic and electrophoretic separation theory and processes, and explore how these processes relate to the field of analytical chemistry. Although modern chemical separation techniques are routinely practiced, there continues to be fundamental advances, which are continually integrated into the course.

Topics covered include:

  • Fundamental principles of separation science to understand analyte peak broadening, with integration of mass transfer and partitioning dynamics, flow dynamics (hydrodynamics), material science and chemical interactions within distinct phases and at phase boundaries. These fundamental principles form a foundation for discussing practical issues such as analysis time, resolution of chemicals in a complex separation and novel instrumentation design.
  • The techniques of liquid chromatography, gas chromatography and supercritical fluid chromatography focus upon the partitioning and separation of neutral analytes. We’ll discuss stationary phase design and separation mechanisms. We’ll also introduce the concept of gradient elution and temperature programming and the principles of flow-through detection, along with the related instrumental issues and constraints.
  • Separations of ionic analytes, and separations based upon the physical size of the analytes. The techniques of ion chromatography, capillary electrophoresis, SDS-PAGE, and recent developments in the micro-fabrication of separation systems such as "capillary electrophoresis on a chip" that produce high-speed protein separations.

CHEM 534: Polymer Chemistry

Credits: 3

This course will introduce you to the fundamental aspects of polymer chemistry with a particular focus on polymer synthesis. You'll learn about polymer structure, synthesis, and self-assembly, and the applications of polymers for commodity and specialty materials. We'll cover step-growth versus chain-growth polymerization mechanisms, controlled radical polymerizations, ring-opening polymerizations, metathesis polymerizations, and other polymer-forming reactions. You'll also be introduced to polymer characterization methods that enable the correlation of polymer structure to polymer function.

CHEM 541: Data Science and Materials Informatics

Credits: 3

This course will show you how to apply data science methods in materials science research. You'll gain skills in data mining, data processing and machine learning with Python. You'll explore these topics through case studies and other methodologies.

CHEM 542: Materials and Device Modeling

Credits: 3

This course will show you how to implement computational and data science methods in materials science research. You'll also use device modeling to gain physical and statistical insights in material design. You'll learn how to study materials using first-principles methods, multiscale simulations and continuum modeling within the machine learning framework.

CHEM 543: Big Data for Materials Science

Credits: 3

This course will introduce you to the challenges and opportunities provided by big data for materials science and chemistry research. You'll gain knowledge and skills in data management using high-performance computing, including automated data processing, batch processing and cloud-based computational tools. 

CHEM 565: Computational Chemistry

Credits: 3

In this course, you'll learn how to solve problems in chemistry using various computational techniques. We'll introduce you to molecular quantum chemistry including the Hartree-Fock method and density functional theory. You'll also study numerical implementation using basic programming and scientific computing.

CHEM 567: Computers in Data Acquisition & Analysis

Credits: 3

In this course, we'll provide you with the tools you'll need to use computers to control your experiments and to acquire and analyze data. You'll learn to use LabVIEW programming software in order to successfully carry out computer-controlled experiments in the laboratory. You’ll be able to integrate individual skills and techniques into a complete system for experimental control, data acquisition and analysis.

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to:

  • Use the transfer function model to understand the basis of data acquisition. This model is closely based on Fourier transform methods.
  • Write code in LabVIEW, using the task model to set up the steps in the data acquisition, and come away with an understanding of how to properly, and improperly, synchronize data acquisition.
  • Write code in LabVIEW to acquire data and analyze the data, compare their results with theoretical models for the data and extract model parameters.
  • As a final project, design in LabVIEW a data acquisition and analysis system on your own. You’ll be measured by the quality of your code, and the answers to the following questions. Does it work? Does it work correctly? Does it properly compare results and theory, or model?