Course Identification

Angular momentum and symmetry in molecular spectroscopy

Lecturers and Teaching Assistants

Prof. Robert Gordon
Tal Klein

Course Schedule and Location

First Semester
Monday, 14:15 - 16:00, FGS, Rm 2
Wednesday, 14:15 - 16:00, FGS, Rm 2

Field of Study, Course Type and Credit Points

Chemical Sciences: Lecture; Elective; Core; 3.00 points
Chemical Sciences (Materials Science Track): Lecture; Elective; Core; 3.00 points


*On Jan-1 the course will be held at Perlman, Shlomo Alexander Room


Undergraduate course in physical chemistry or quantum mechanics



Language of Instruction


Attendance and participation

Expected and Recommended

Grade Type

Numerical (out of 100)

Grade Breakdown (in %)

The grade will be based on weekly problem sets, including an extended final problem set

Evaluation Type

Final assignment

Scheduled date 1


Estimated Weekly Independent Workload (in hours)



Angular Momentum and Symmetry in Molecular Spectroscopy

Fall, 2019

This course explores the fundamental concepts of atomic and molecular spectroscopy.  Topics to be covered in the section on atomic spectroscopy include the spin-orbit effect, the Lamb shift, hyperfine structure, quantum defect theory, the Pauli exclusion principle, Russel-Saunders and j-j coupling, symmetry, selection rules, and line intensities, and the Stark and Zeeman effects. The section on molecular spectroscopy will include the Born-Oppenheimer approximation, vibrational and rotational spectroscopy, Hund’s cases, normal modes, the Frank-Condon principle, conical intersections, and vibronic interactions.


Other information:

The course is suitable for chemists and physicists who have had a prior course on quantum mechanics. The tools of angular momentum theory and group theory will be developed during the course. 

The course will meet twice a week for twelve weeks.

The grade will be based on weekly problem sets, including an extended final problem set instead of a final exam.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course the students will be able to:

  1. Apply group theory and quantum mechanical angular momentum to the interpretation of vibrational, rotational, and electronic spectra of molecules.

Reading List


Text: Robert Gordon, Online Notes; Peter Bernath, Spectra of Atoms and Molecules

Additional reading: Richard Zare, Angular Momentum; F. Albert Cotton, Chemical Applications of Group Theory