Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Surface Chemistry: Structure and Reactivity 4M CHEM5058

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Chemistry
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will introduce the fundamental principles of surface chemistry and spectroscopy with an emphasis on nanoscale materials and catalysis.


18 hours of lectures and 2 hours of tutorials to be arranged

Requirements of Entry

Admission to the MSc degree programme in Advanced Functional Materials.

Excluded Courses





90 minute written examination

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

To provide students with a critical insight and understanding of surface chemistry for catalysis and surface spectroscopy for examining materials on the nanoscale.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


1. Recognise the significance of economic and industrial factors in modern heterogeneous catalysis.

2. Describe the connections and constraints on chemisorption and catalysis by metals, structure/activity relationships, and methods to elucidate mechanisms.

3. Explain the fundamental principles of optical and X-ray based spectroscopic techniques in characterising surface structure.

4. Describe the principles of reduced dimensionality and the effect on physio/chemical properties of materials.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.