The structural knowledge of molecular structures, such as enzymes, active ingredients, toxins, proteins or catalysts and of solid state materials is the key starting point for the understanding of their functionality. In this course, we will study different methodologies and tools that are used for the structural and electronic determination. All these concepts require knowing and understanding what are the mathematical foundations of molecular symmetry in order to understand how it relies to the properties of a molecule or a material. We will deal with the most fundamental aspects and of these techniques and study their diversified applications in all domains of chemistry (organic chemistry, physical chemistry, organometallic chemistry, material chemistry). Each part of the course will be illustrated with examples taken from a wide rage of molecules, which will help to understand the use of these techniques but also discuss their limitations.


The course will be organized in several lectures:

  1. Generalities on symmetry and on spectroscopy. Spectroscopic terms, the fundamental level, the excited states. Simple operations of symmetry: rotation, translation, and inversion.
  2. Group theory and tables of character.
  3. Application of group theory to vibrational spectroscopy: Raman and IR.
  4. Electronic spectroscopy: the different transitions and the transitions rules.
  5. Mass spectrometry.
  6. NMR Spectroscopy: Principle, Larmor frequency, pulsed NMR and signal processing.
  7. NMR Spectroscopy: Relaxation phenomenon, chemical shift, scalar coupling and dipolar coupling
  8. NMR Spectroscopy: Two-dimensional NMR, solid state NMR, NMR of paramagnetic systems.
  9. Magnetism and EPR.


Bibliography used for the lectures:

-          Chemical applications of group theory, F. Albert Cotton

-          Inorganic spectroscopic methods, Alan K. Brisdon

-          NMR : The toolkit, Peter Hore, Jonathan Jones

-          Understanding NMR spectroscopy, James Keeler (Willey)

-          Molecular magnetism, Olivier Kahn

-          Electron paramagnetic resonance of transition ions, A. Abragam, B. Bleaney

Language course: English

Credits ECTS: 4