Experimental Physical Chemistry:
Advanced Courses in Kinetics, Spectroscopy, and Surface Sciences and Vacuum
Overview(For the current schedule, scroll down.)
The advanced lab course is the final physical chemistry practical course in which you are able to work with well established experiments specifically designed for you. Formerly a mandatory course for all chemistry students, the "PCF Praktikum"–german for Physikalisch-Chemisches Fortgeschrittenenpraktikum–has now been adapted to the increased flexibility of the master's program and has been divided into three topics, "Spectroscopy", "Chemical Kinetics", and "Surface Science and Vacuum Techniques." The participation in these lab courses is voluntary, but participating in at least one course is a prerequisite for the PC research internship, M.Che.1321. Each lab course includes a seminar presentation, three experiments, and a 15-minute oral final exam. It is weighted with 6 credits.
What can you expect from participating in a lab course, and what should you be aware of? We discuss the most important things in the following sections.
Experiments and general safety
As you are probably familiar with from previous practical lab courses, each experiment is accompanied by a discussion with the assistant lasting approximately one hour (colloquium). This is to ensure that you have thoroughly prepared for the respective experiment (keywords from the experimental instructions help with this) and can perform it without danger to yourself or others. Sources of danger in the lab course are, for example, lasers with high optical power, vacuum set-ups, or toxic gases. Your supervising assistant will show you the safe handling of the set-up at the beginning of the lab day. For this purpose, each experiment is accompanied by a safety folder with supporting documents. You may only use the experimental set-up after this safety briefing. Please bring your own personal protective equipment (lab coat and goggles) and wear long pants and closed shoes.
You have to hand in a report to the assistant no later than two weeks after the experiment has been carried out. After three submissions, the report must be approved, no later than two months after the last day of the lab course (final report approval deadline). Please note that the assistant may refuse to thoroughly correct the report should there be serious shortcomings or important content missing–you effectively lose one of the three submissions. The PCF Reporting Checklist (available in Stud.IP) will protect you from such problems, and it is best to read through it before writing the first report.
In addition to the laboratory work, you will participate in a seminar during which you will listen to talks by other participants and also give a talk yourself. Your goal is to clearly explain a topic that is relevant to the lab course in 20 minutes. A handout of three to six pages will help you to do this. The talk will be supported by an assistant. In order to promote a lively discussion, we require that you ask at least one question in the seminar and record it along with your answer.
Unfortunately, misconduct in the lab course occurs regularly, to the detriment of all involved. This includes inadequate preparation of the experiment, negligent writing of the report, last-minute cancellation of lab course participation, failure to meet a submission deadline, and, at worst, violation of the rules of good research practice (GRP). The disadvantages of such behavior are obvious: avoidable extra work (negligence), unfair time constraints (stretching of deadlines), lost lab course places and working time (cancellations, GRP violations), loss of credibility, mistrust in scientific knowledge (GRP violations).
We sanction misconduct at a minimum by:
- Repeating the experiment/presentation (inadequate performance in the colloquium, report after three submissions, seminar talk or handout; failure to meet submission deadlines).
- Exclusion from the lab course (inadequate performance in two experiments, failure to meet final report approval deadline, violation of good research practice)
- Suspension from registration in the following semester (short-term cancellation of participation, exclusion from the lab course)
Your participation will be particularly successful if you allow yourself sufficient time for the lab course, have a special interest in the subject matter and work carefully. Take advantage of the intensive supervision and benefit from the experience of your assistant: Ask questions! Address problems early on! Be aware of submission deadlines and complete your work on time! Be diligent! Your future self, browsing through your old PCF reports, will thank you.
Summer Semester 2023
(For the previous semester, click here.)
In the summer term, the lab courses run parallel to the lectures. We offer two courses: Course 1 at the beginning of the semester's lecture period (April, May) and Course 2 at the end (June, July), see the schedule below. Note that the courses each have their own preparatory meeting and deadlines. You can book both, the earlier and the later course, for example Course 1 in Spectroscopy (M.Che.1304) and Course 2 in Kinetics (M.Che.1305).
Preparatory Meeting (Vorbesprechung)
Course 1 and 2 each have their own preparatory meeting. The preparatory meeting for Course 1 will take place on Friday, February 24 from 1 PM to 2 PM in the IPC seminar room MN32, the meeting for Course 2 on Wednesday, April 5, 1 PM to 2 PM. The April 5 meeting will be implemented as a video conference. The link will be shared via StudIP. The presentation slides of the preparatory meetings will be available there as well.
If anything is unclear, contact Nils Lüttschwager (IPC Room 1.123, nluetts[at]gwdg.de).