PSC2132 - Introduction to spectroscopy - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Associate Professor Martin Scanlon

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


Previously coded PSC2182


An introduction to the major techniques which underpin the practical aspects of compound identification for medicinal chemistry: UV spectroscopy, IR spectroscopy, Mass spectroscopy and NMR spectroscopy.


After completing this unit students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Describe how spectroscopic techniques can be used in the process of identification of small drug like molecules;
  2. Describe briefly the phenomena behind the spectroscopic techniques;
  3. Use the molecular formula of a compound to determine the index of hydrogen deficiency
  4. Interpret infra-red (IR) spectra to enable the identification of functional groups in small molecules
  5. Interpret mass spectra (MS) for small molecules to determine patterns of fragmentation and rearrangement that generate the observed ions
  6. Analyze nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra and measure the relevant spectroscopic parameters (chemical shift, intensity, coupling)
  7. Calculate coupling constants from NMR spectra
  8. Draw coupling trees to account for the patterns of coupling observed in NMR spectra
  9. Identify elements of symmetry in the chemical structure of small molecules
  10. Analyse IR, 1D NMR and Mass spectra of an unknown molecules and to use these to determine their structure;
  11. Analyse 2D NMR spectra as a means to assign the NMR spectra of more complex molecules;
  12. Demonstrate the correct reporting of spectroscopic data as used in medicinal chemistry.


Final exam (2 hour): 60%; Mid-semester exam: 20%; Practical assessments: 20%.

Workload requirements

Contact hours for on-campus students:

  • Thirty-six hours of lectures and tutorials
  • Thirty-six hours of computational and laboratory based practical classes

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: