The determination of molecular structure underpins all aspects of synthetic chemistry...
There are many techniques available to determine the precise structure (connectivity, conformation, stereochemistry, chirality) of a molecule. X-ray crystallography is the most direct technique for molecular structure determination. Crystallography will be presented in this course in a series of lectures, problem based learning sessions and self directed learning exercises.

Indirect spectroscopic methods such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometry are used routinely in the characterisation of new and existing compounds. Simple 1-D and more sophisticated 2-D NMR experiments can lead to information that, if interpreted correctly, enables the assignment of connectivity and stereochemistry. The NMR section of this course will be presented as a series of lectures and problem solving sessions.
What do I do in this course?
CHEM3004 equips the student with skills in spectroscopy (NMR, mass spectrometry, UV-vis spectroscopy) and X-ray crystallography that will enable them to determine the structures of small molecules in a research setting. The course is taught in a highly interactive manner with all students required to demonstrate their ability to bring together various pieces of information in order to determine molecular structures of unknown compounds. The assessment of CHEM3004 has a strong emphasis on problem solving and each student will be expected to be able to:
  • Analyse X-ray diffraction data to determine space group symmetry.
  • Solve and refine a crystal structure given an actual crystallographic data set and be able to interpret the results of this analysis.
  • Understand and apply the principles of NMR spectroscopy including 1D and 2D experiments in elucidating connectivity, stereochemistry and conformation of organic molecules.
  • Use combinations of different spectroscopic techniques to identify an unknown chemical compound.
Career relevance of this course:
The determination of molecular structure underpins our understanding of reactivity in all areas where chemistry interfaces the physical (e.g. materials science, catalysis) and biological sciences (e.g. drug design).
Areas in which synthetic chemistry is applied (pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology, polymers and materials industry, and university-based research) requires the precise molecular characterization of compounds using a range of spectroscopic and structural techniques. Most chemistry majors aiming toward a career in either industry or academia will inevitably need to be skilled in molecular characterization and be able to propose a strategy for determining (or confirming) the molecular composition and structure of an unknown compound.
Program planning advice:
CHEM3004 is compulsory in the Chemical Sciences Chemistry & Chemical Biology stream. This course is also recommended by the coordinator for inclusion in the Chemistry major, the Materials & Nanotechnology stream of the Chemical Sciences major and the Biophysics dual major. This course is essential for those expecting to progress to an Honours year in the area of organic or inorganic chemistry.

For an official description of this course, including prerequisites and contact hours, and for the official rules of programs, including majors requirements, see the UQ Programs & Courses website.