Submitted by Marco Zimmer-De Iuliis / University of Toronto on Tue, 11/16/2010 - 15:33

Hello all,


I am teaching a thrid year inorganic course and want to teach some IR basic using symmetry and character tables.


I would like to go over generating  Reducible representations and then use the reduction formula based on the character table to get to the irreducible representation.


I am using Housecroft and Sharpe's Inorganic Chemistry Text book, 3rd edition and they do cover this topic a little bit, biut I was wondering if anyone knows of other more comprehensive resources with further examples and explanations.



Adam Johnson / Harvey Mudd College

Miessler and Tarr (4th ed, section 4.4) has a fairly extensive presentation of IR using reducible reps for molecular motion, and also specifically for carbonyl stretching bands.

VIPEr has a few learning objects on IR.  Some that i've used/looked at include:……

I have a handout on IR that I was thinking about putting on VIPEr but it contains almost exactly the same content and examples as the book section I reference above.  

I hope that helps,


Tue, 11/16/2010 - 16:13 Permalink
Maggie Geselbracht / Reed College
My all-time favorite resource for teaching symmetry and group theory in a very understandable manner is Molecular Symmetry and Group Theory by Robert Carter.  The link above is to a brief review that I wrote for VIPEr.  This book goes through the basics of how to write and reduce representations without first deriving The Great Orthogonality Theorem (something that nearly drove me out of my group theory course in graduate school).  My students rave about this book and find it particularly helpful when they move on to more sophisticated group theory courses.  And there is a great chapter in there about vibrational spectroscopy.
Tue, 11/16/2010 - 21:49 Permalink
Marco Zimmer-De Iuliis / University of Toronto

Thanks all for the suggestions.


I have put in a request for " Molecular Symmetry and Group Theory by Robert Carter" from our librarybut we only have the third edition of "Inorganic Chemistry by Miessler and Tarr".


Do you know if there is a similar section in the 3rd edition?



Wed, 11/17/2010 - 11:23 Permalink
Chip Nataro / Lafayette College

Yep. It hasn't changed all that much over the years.

I used to use Miessler and Tarr but my students didn't like it much. I switched to Housecroft and Sharpe. However, I still go back to M&T and use their approach to Group Theory. Most books use the approach 'here are point groups, here are what character tables look like, somewhere a miracle happens, and look at what we can do with group theory.'  I really like the way that M&T go through the whole thing piece by little piece.

I've also found the following sites to be useful...

Just click on a point group, type in your reducible rep and presto, it give you the irred. rep. It will even tell you which ones are IR and Raman active.

The gallary is fun to play with especially seeing some of those improper rotations.…

Similar to the otterbein site. Unfortunately the last two sites don't really do anything with IR/Raman, but they can be useful for students to visualize symmetry ops.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 18:27 Permalink
Betsy Jamieson / Smith College

I've also used Miessler & Tarr to cover this topic.  I was only at the 3rd edition last time I taught inorganic. 

 I'm excited to look into the other resources people have mentioned.

Tue, 11/23/2010 - 11:14 Permalink