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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Physical Chemistry (Fall 2017)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via MIT OpenCourseWare


Course Features
  • Video lectures
  • Lecture notes
  • Assignments: problem sets (no solutions)
  • Exams and solutions
Course Description

This course is an introduction to quantum mechanics for use by chemists. Topics include particles and waves, wave mechanics, semi-classical quantum mechanics, matrix mechanics, perturbation theory, molecular orbital theory, molecular structure, molecular spectroscopy, and photochemistry. Emphasis is on creating and building confidence in the use of intuitive pictures.


1. Quantum Mechanics—Historical Background, Photoelectric Effect, Compton Scattering.
2. Wave Nature of the Electron and the Internal Structure of an Atom.
3. Two-Slit Experiment; Quantum Weirdness.
4. Classical Wave Equation and Separation of Variables.
5. Quantum Mechanics: Free Particle and Particle in 1D Box.
6. 3-D Box and QM Separation of Variables.
7. Classical Mechanical Harmonic Oscillator.
8. Quantum Mechanical Harmonic Oscillator.
9. The Harmonic Oscillator: Creation and Annihilation Operators.
10. The Time-Dependent Schrödinger Equation.
11. Wavepacket Dynamics for Harmonic Oscillator and PIB.
12. Catch Up and Review & Postulates.
13. From Hij Integrals to H Matrices I.
14. From Hij Integrals to H Matrices II.
15. Non-Degenerate Perturbation Theory I.
16. Non-Degenerate Perturbation Theory II: HO using a,a†.
17. Rigid Rotor I; Orbital Angular Momentum.
18. Rigid Rotor II. Derivation by Commutation Rules.
19. Spectroscopy: Probing Molecules with Light.
20. Hydrogen Atom I.
21. Hydrogen Atom II; Rydberg States.
22. Helium Atom.
23. Many-Electron Atoms.
24. Molecular Orbital Theory I; Variational Principle and Matrix Mechanics.
25. Molecular Orbital Theory II; H2+, A2, AB Diatomics.
26. Qualitative MO Theory: Hückel.
27. Non-Degenerate Perturbation Theory III.
28. Modern Electronic Structure Theory: Basis Sets.
29. Modern Electronic Structure Theory: Electronic Correlation.
30. Time-Dependent Perturbation Theory I: H is Time-Independent, Zewail Wavepacket..
31. Time-Dependent Perturbation Theory II: H is Time-Dependent: Two-Level Problem.
32. Intermolecular Interactions by Non-Degenerate Perturbation Theory.
33. Electronic Spectroscopy: Franck-Condon.
34. Electronic Spectroscopy and Photochemistry.
35. Delta-Functions, Eigen-Functions of X, Discrete Variable Representation.
36. Time Dependence of Two-Level Systems: Density Matrix, Rotating Wave Approximation.

Taught by

Prof. Robert Field

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