27 Mar 2014

'Sophomore' symmetry: Lecture materials

Five Slides About

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

Having been inspired by a number of wonderful LOs, I introduced group theory in my 'sophomore' inorganic class this spring. In addition to learning to determine the point group of a molecule, students were taught how to construct a qualitative MO diagram though the use of LGOs. While a little more than 5 slides, this is what I used in lecture to cover the material.


File Power point slides794.49 KB
Package icon Videos used in slides1.81 MB
Learning Goals: 

Students should be able to assign a point group to a molecule and use a character table, generator functions and LGOs to construct a MO diagram for simple molecules.

Implementation Notes: 

The brief videos were captured from Molwave 3DMolSym (http://www.molwave.com/software/3dmolsym/3dmolsym.htm). I did not cover all of the symmetry operations (most notably skipping inversion centers and identity) as they are not necessary for point group determination. I debated including improper roations but left them. In the future I may not include them since it is highly unlikely that I will give students a molecule that is Sn in symmetry. I also opted to give students very abbreviated character tables. I do teach a senior level course that has a more rigorous group theory component, but I felt simplifying the character tables in this course would be appropriate.

Time Required: 
3 lectures
Evaluation Methods: 

A related lab and exam questions have been posted.

Creative Commons License: 
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