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NUS Chemistry Module Review: CM3232 Phy Chem of the Solid State & Interfaces

Teaching mode: The syllabus was split between the two lecturers. Lectures twice per week + weekly tutorials with answers uploaded beforehand. The 8am lectures were webcasted, but the first ~5 minutes of the lectures may not be recorded in the webcast. Dr Eda also likes to write things (extra stuff, derivation of formulae, illustrations) on the whiteboard, which wouldn’t be captured in the webcasts.

Assessment: Two mid-terms (20% each) + project presentation (10%) + finals (50%). The project was a group work; we were given topics from the syllabus to work on, explaining the concepts and their scientific applications in the form of a presentation to the cohort. We also had to come up with an example problem & solution related to the assigned topic.

Contents: The first half of the module was taught by Dr Xu, covering the topics of surface tension, adsorption/desorption, crystal structures, and XRD. Dr Xu provided clear explanations for new concepts, though the topics may be a little dry. Her tutorial answers were also pretty comprehensive as she would include explanations for the answers. I personally liked the style of her lecture notes; though the slides were wordy, they were helpful in enabling me to understand the topics, and she divides the chapter into smaller sets of lecture notes, like smaller bites of info.

The second half of the module was taught by Dr Eda, covering band theory of solids, electrical properties (charge carriers, semiconductors, dielectric properties), optical properties (transmittance/reflectivity, direct/indirect band gap semiconductors), and magnetic properties of solids. These topics introduced a lot more formulae than the topics in the first half of the module, but not all of the formulae would be used in handling tutorial/exam questions, so you’d just need to understand what the formula means. I felt that the topics were more technical and challenging, with some involvement of quantum chemistry which I didn’t like from the start.

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