Filtered CHCHE Courses (2023-24)
Introduces the basic principles and techniques of synthesis and analysis and develops the laboratory skills and precision that are fundamental to experimental chemistry. Limited enrollment. Students entering in the academic year 2020 and before must take Ch 3 in their first nine terms of residence in order to be graded pass/fail. First-year undergraduate students entering in the academic year 2021 and thereafter must take Ch 3 in their first six terms of residence in order to be graded pass/fail. Ch 3 a and Ch 3 x both satisfy the institute's Core requirement for a Chemistry Laboratory.
Introduces concepts and laboratory methods in chemistry and materials science centered on the theme of solar energy conversion and storage. Students will perform experiments involving optical spectroscopy, electrochemistry, laser spectroscopy, photochemistry, and photoelectrochemistry, culminating in the construction and testing of dye-sensitized solar cells. Students entering in the academic year 2020 and before must take Ch 3 in their first nine terms of residence in order to be graded pass/fail. First-year undergraduate students entering in the academic year 2021 and thereafter must take Ch 3 in their first six terms of residence in order to be graded pass/fail. Ch 3 a and Ch 3 x both satisfy the institute's Core requirement for a Chemistry Laboratory.
Introduction to methods of synthesis, separation, purification, and characterization used routinely in chemical research laboratories. Ch 4 a focuses on the synthesis and analysis of organic molecules; Ch 4 b focuses on the synthesis and analysis of inorganic and organometallic molecules. Ch 4 a, second term; Ch 4 b, third term.
Modern synthetic chemistry. Specific experiments may change from year to year. Ch 5 a focuses on experiments illustrating the multistep syntheses of natural products. Ch 5 b focuses on the synthesis and spectroscopic characterization of coordination and organometallic complexes and their applications in organic and electrochemical catalysis. Methodology will include advanced techniques of synthesis and instrumental characterization. Terms may be taken independently. Part a not offered 2023-24.
Introduction to modern physical methods in chemistry and biology. Techniques include laser spectroscopy, microwave spectroscopy, electron spin resonance, nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry, FT-IR, fluorescence, scanning probe microscopies, and UHV surface methods.
Introduction to methods of extraction, synthesis, separation and purification, and spectroscopic characterization of Aspirin, Tylenol, and medical test strips. Open to non-premedical students, as space allows.
Ch 10 ab is a weekly seminar by a member of the chemistry department on a topic of current research; the topic will be presented at an informal, introductory level. Ch 10 c is a research-oriented laboratory course, which will be supervised by a chemistry faculty member. Weekly class meetings will provide a forum for participants to discuss their research projects. Graded pass/fail.
The course will focus on techniques used in modern biochemistry laboratories. Students will learn how to express recombinant proteins in bacteria and purify them with various chromatography techniques. Purified proteins will be characterized by various in vitro assays.
Develops the basic principles of chemical equilibrium in aqueous solutions, emphasizing acid-base chemistry, complex ion formation, chelation, solubility, oxidation-reduction reactions, and partitioning equilibria for separations.
Laboratory experiments are used to illustrate modern instrumental techniques that are currently employed in industrial and academic research. Emphasis is on determinations of chemical composition, measurement of equilibrium constants, evaluation of rates of chemical reactions, and trace-metal analysis.
Atomic and molecular quantum mechanics, spectroscopy, chemical dynamics, statistical mechanics, and thermodynamics.
Develops the basic principles of solution thermodynamics, transport processes, and reaction kinetics, with emphasis on biochemical and biophysical applications. Not offered 2023-24.
The synthesis, structure, and reaction mechanisms of organic compounds.
Offered to B.S. candidates in chemistry. Units in accordance with work accomplished. Prerequisite: consent of research supervisor. Experimental and theoretical research requiring a report containing an appropriate description of the research work.
Occasional advanced work involving reading assignments and a report on special topics. No more than 12 units in Ch 81 may be used as electives in the chemistry option.
Three terms of Ch 82 are to be completed during the junior and/or senior year of study. At the end of the third term, students enrolled in Ch 82 will present a thesis of approximately 20 pages (excluding figures and references) to the mentor and the Chemistry Curriculum and Undergraduate Studies Committee. The thesis must be approved by both the research mentor and the CUSC. An oral thesis defense will be arranged by the CUSC in the third term for all enrollees. The first two terms of Ch 82 will be taken on a pass/fail basis, and the third term will carry a letter grade.
Training in the techniques of oral presentation of chemical and biochemical topics. Practice in the effective organization and delivery of technical reports before groups. Strong oral presentation is an essential skill for successful job interviews and career advancement. Graded pass/fail. Class size limited to 12 students.
Training in the writing of scientific research papers for chemists and chemical engineers. Fulfills the Institute scientific writing requirement.
Small group study and discussion on special areas of chemistry, chemical engineering, molecular biology, or biophysics. Instructors drawn from advanced graduate students and postdoctoral staff will lead weekly tutorial sessions and assign short homework assignments, readings, or discussions. Tutorials to be arranged with instructors before registration.
Structure and bonding of inorganic species with special emphasis on symmetry, spectroscopy, oxidation-reduction reactions, organometallic, and solid-state chemistry.
A survey of selected topics beyond introductory organic chemistry, including reaction mechanisms and catalysis.
An introduction to the use of social media for scientific communication. Social media platforms are discussed in the context of their use to professionally engage scientific communities and general audiences. Topics will include ethics, privacy, reputation management, ownership and the law, and will focus on the use and impact of social media for personal and professional career development. Lectures will include presentations by invited experts in various specialties, a number of whom will have worldwide recognition. Not offered 2023-24.
Lectures and recitation introducing the molecular basis of life processes. In the first term, topics will include the structure and chemical properties of biological macromolecules, molecular biology methods, and biological catalysis. The second term will cover an overview of metabolism and the biochemistry behind the transmission of genetic information.
Lectures and recitation on the molecular basis of biological structure and function. Emphasizes the storage, transmission, and expression of genetic information in cells. Specific topics include DNA replication, recombination, repair and mutagenesis, transcription, RNA processing, and chromatin structure.
Introduction to group theory, ligand field theory, and bonding in coordination complexes and organotransition metal compounds. Systematics of bonding, reactivity, and spectroscopy of commonly encountered classes of transition metal compounds.
Discussion of the fundamentals and applications of electrochemistry with an emphasis on the structure of electrode-electrolyte interfaces, mechanisms by which charge is transferred across it, kinetics of mass transfer to the interface, experimental techniques used to study electrode reactions, and application of electrochemical techniques to study materials chemistry. Topics may vary but usually include electrochemical thermodynamics, potential step waveforms, the electrical double layer, charge transfer kinetics, mass transfer kinetics, voltammetry, chronocoulometry, EIS, and RDE. Not offered 2023-24.
Modern ideas of chemical bonding, with an emphasis on qualitative concepts useful for predictions of structures, energetics, excited states, and properties. Part a: The quantum mechanical basis for understanding bonding, structures, energetics, and properties of materials (polymers, ceramics, metals alloys, semiconductors, and surfaces), including transition metal and organometallic systems with a focus on chemical reactivity. The emphasis is on explaining chemical, mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties of materials in terms of atomistic concepts. Part b: The student does an individual research project using modern quantum chemistry computer programs to calculate wavefunctions, structures, and properties of real molecules.
Application of Atomistic-based methods [Quantum Mechanics (QM) and Molecular Dynamics (MD)] for predicting the structures and properties of molecules and solids and simulating the dynamical properties. This course emphasizes hands-on use of modern commercial software (such as Jaguar for QM, VASP for periodic QM, and LAMMPS for MD) for practical applications and is aimed at experimentalists and theorists interested in understanding structures, properties, and dynamics in such areas as biological systems (proteins, DNA, carbohydrates, lipids); polymers (crystals, amorphous systems, co-polymers); semiconductors (group IV, III-V, surfaces, defects); inorganic systems (ceramics, zeolites, superconductors, and metals); organo-metallics, and catalysis (heterogeneous, homogeneous, and electrocatalysis). Ch 121 a covers the basic methods with hands-on applications to systems of interest using modern software. The homework for the first 5 weeks emphasizes computer-based solutions. For the second 5 weeks of the homework each student proposes a short research project and uses atomistic simulations to solve it. Ch 121 b each student selects a more extensive research project and uses atomistic simulations to solve it.
This course provides an introduction to small molecule X-ray crystallography. Topics include symmetry, space groups, diffraction by crystals, the direct and reciprocal lattice, Patterson and direct methods for phase determination, and structure refinement. It will cover both theoretical and applied concepts and include hands-on experience in data collection, structure solution and structure refinement.
A treatment of quantum mechanics with application to molecular and material systems. The basic elements of quantum mechanics, the electronic structure of atoms and molecules, the interactions of radiation fields and matter, and time dependent techniques relevant to spectroscopy will be covered. The course sequence prepares students for Ch 225 and 226.
A survey course in the properties of nuclei, and in atomic phenomena associated with nuclear-particle detection. Topics include rates of production and decay of radioactive nuclei; interaction of radiation with matter; nuclear masses, shapes, spins, and moments; modes of radioactive decay; nuclear fission and energy generation. Given in alternate years; not offered 2023-24.
Examination of the chemistry of the interstellar medium, of protostellar nebulae, and of primitive solar-system objects with a view toward establishing the relationship of the chemical evolution of atoms in the interstellar radiation field to complex molecules and aggregates in the early solar system that may contribute to habitability. Emphasis will be placed on identifying the physical conditions in various objects, timescales for physical and chemical change, chemical processes leading to change, observational constraints, and various models that attempt to describe the chemical state and history of cosmological objects in general and the early solar system in particular. Given in alternate years; offered 2023-24.
This course will cover basic optics and introduce modern optical spectroscopy principles and microscopy techniques. Topics include molecular spectroscopy, linear and nonlinear florescence microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, coherent microscopy, single-molecule spectroscopy, and super-resolution imaging. Not offered 2023-24.
The properties and photoelectrochemistry of semiconductors and semiconductor/liquid junction solar cells will be discussed. Topics include optical and electronic properties of semiconductors; electronic properties of semiconductor junctions with metals, liquids, and other semiconductors, in the dark and under illumination, with emphasis on semiconductor/liquid junctions in aqueous and nonaqueous media. Problems currently facing semiconductor/liquid junctions and practical applications of these systems will be highlighted. Part a not offered 2023-24.
This course will address both one-dimensional and two-dimensional techniques in NMR spectroscopy which are essential to elucidating structures of organic and organometallic samples. Dynamic NMR phenomena, multinuclear, paramagnetic and NOE effects will also be covered. An extensive survey of multipulse NMR methods will also contribute to a clear understanding of two-dimensional experiments. (Examples for Varian NMR instrumentation will be included.)
An advanced survey of selected topics in modern organic chemistry. Topics vary from year to year and may include structural and theoretical organic chemistry; materials chemistry; macromolecular chemistry; mechanochemistry; molecular recognition/supramolecular chemistry; reaction mechanisms; reactive intermediates; pericyclic reactions; and photochemistry. Not offered 2023-24.
An advanced survey of current and classic topics in chemical biology. Content draws largely from current literature and varies from year-to-year. Topics may include the structure, function, and synthesis of peptides and proteins; enzyme catalysis and inhibition; cellular metabolism; chemical genetics; proteomics; posttranslational modifications; chemical tools to study cellular dynamics; and enzyme evolution. Not offered 2023-24.
The course will examine the bioorganic chemistry of nucleic acids, including DNA and RNA structures, molecular recognition, and mechanistic analyses of covalent modification of nucleic acids. Topics include synthetic methods for the construction of DNA and RNA; separation techniques; recognition of duplex DNA by peptide analogs, proteins, and oligonucleotide-directed triple helical formation; RNA structure and RNA as catalysts (ribozymes). Not offered 2023-24.
An introduction to the chemistry of polymers, including synthetic methods and mechanisms of macromolecule formation, characterization techniques, reactivity, and applications. Not offered 2023-24.
An introduction to the physics that govern the structure and dynamics of polymeric liquids, and to the physical basis of characterization methods used in polymer science. The course emphasizes the scaling aspects of the various physical properties. Topics include conformation of a single polymer, a chain under different solvent conditions; dilute and semi-dilute solutions; thermodynamics of polymer blends and block copolymers; polyelectrolytes; rubber elasticity; polymer gels; linear viscoelasticity of polymer solutions and melts. Not offered 2023-24.
Discussion of key principles in organic chemistry, with an emphasis on reaction mechanisms and problem-solving. This course is intended primarily for first-year graduate students with a strong foundation in organic chemistry. Meets during the first three weeks of the term. Graded pass/fail.
Ch 153 a: Topics in modern inorganic chemistry. Electronic structure, spectroscopy, and photochemistry with emphasis on examples from the research literature. Ch 153 b: Applications of physical methods to the characterization of inorganic and bioinorganic species, with an emphasis on the practical application of Moessbauer, EPR, and pulse EPR spectroscopies. Ch 153 c: Theoretical and spectroscopic approaches to understanding the electronic structure of transition metal ions. Topics in the 153 bc alternate sequence may include saturation magnetization and zero-field splitting in magnetic circular dichroism and molecular magnetism, hyperfine interactions in electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, Moessbauer and magnetic Moessbauer spectroscopy, vibronic interactions in electronic absorption and resonance Raman spectroscopy, and bonding analyses using x-ray absorption and/or emission spectroscopies. Parts b and c not offered 2023-24.
A general discussion of the reaction mechanisms and the synthetic and catalytic uses of transition metal organometallic compounds. Second term: a survey of the elementary reactions and methods for investigating reaction mechanisms. Third term: contemporary topics in inorganic and organometallic synthesis, structure and bonding, and applications in catalysis. Part b not offered 2023-24.
Discussion of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalytic reactions, with emphasis on the relationships between the two areas and their role in energy problems. Topics include catalysis by metals, metal oxides, zeolites, and soluble metal complexes; utilization of hydrocarbon resources; and catalytic applications in alternative energy approaches.
An introduction to the fundamentals and simple applications of statistical thermodynamics. Foundation of statistical mechanics; partition functions for various ensembles and their connection to thermodynamics; fluctuations; noninteracting quantum and classical gases; heat capacity of solids; adsorption; phase transitions and order parameters; linear response theory; structure of classical fluids; computer simulation methods.
An advanced course emphasizing the conceptual structure of modern thermodynamics and its applications. Review of the laws of thermodynamics; thermodynamic potentials and Legendre transform; equilibrium and stability conditions; metastability and phase separation kinetics; thermodynamics of single-component fluid and binary mixtures; models for solutions; phase and chemical equilibria; surface and interface thermodynamics; electrolytes and polymeric liquids.
Detailed analysis of the structures of the four classes of biological molecules and the forces that shape them. Introduction to molecular biological and visualization techniques. Not offered 2023-24.
A detailed course about chemical transformation in Earth's atmosphere. Kinetics, spectroscopy, and thermodynamics of gas-phase chemistry of the stratosphere and troposphere; sources, sinks, and lifetimes of trace atmospheric species; stratospheric ozone chemistry; oxidation mechanisms in the troposphere; aerosol chemistry.
A lecture and discussion course about active research in atmospheric chemistry. Potential topics include halogen chemistry of the stratosphere and troposphere; aerosol formation in remote environments; coupling of dynamics and photochemistry; development and use of modern remote-sensing and in situ instrumentation. Graded pass/fail.
Basic principles of modern biophysical and structural methods used to interrogate macromolecules from the atomic to cellular levels, including light and electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, single molecule techniques, circular dichroism, surface plasmon resonance, mass spectrometry, and molecular dynamics and systems biological simulations. Not offered 2023-24.
Discussion of research fields in biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Caltech. Development of skills in literature analysis and information synthesis.
This course will cover selected aspects of the chemistry of aquatic systems. Lectures cover basic principles of physical-organic chemistry relevant to the aquatic environment under realistic conditions. Specific topics covered in Part I include the basic principles of equilibrium chemical and physical processes important natural waters. Topics include: chemical potential, fugacity, phase transfer, acid-base chemistry, metal-ligand substitution chemistry, surface chemistry, octanol-water partitioning, air-water partitioning, partitioning to solid organic matter and biomedia, sorption processes, air-water exchange dynamics, and the kinetics and mechanisms of coupled organic and inorganic redox reactions. Thermodynamics, transport, phase transfer and kinetics are emphasized. Not offered 2023-24.
This course will cover selected aspects of the organic chemistry of aquatic systems and coupled air-water systems. Topics include photochemical transformations, biochemical transformations in sub-surface water, surface water, and sediments, heterogeneous surface reactions and catalysis, hydrolysis reactions, nucleophilic displacement and substitution reactions, elimination reactions, carboxylic acid ester hydrolysis, thiophosphoric acid ester hydrolysis, carbamate ester hydrolysis, and amide ester hydrolysis. The primary goal is to better understand factors controlling the fate and behavior of organic compounds and persistent organic pollutants in the global environment. Case studies will be presented. Not offered 2023-24.
Discussion of the energetic principles and molecular mechanisms that underlie enzyme's catalytic proficiency and exquisite specificity. Principles of allostery, selectivity, and enzyme evolution. Practical kinetics and their application to more complex biological systems, including steady-state and pre-steady-state kinetics, kinetic simulations, and kinetics at single molecule resolution.