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Materials Systems and Dynamics V

Prof. Jonathan Woodward 

Course title : Electron spin and chemical reactivity

Course overview

This course is concerned with the influence that quantum mechanical electron spin can have on the rate and yield of chemical reactions. The course focuses on reaction intermediates known as Spin Correlated Radical Pairs (SCRPs) and discusses their importance, particularly in photochemistry, focussing on how they allow chemical reactions to respond to magnetic fields. The course will cover the Radical Pair Mechanism in detail, including quantum mechanical treatments based on density matrix formulation. The significance of SCRPs to important biological problems such as animal navigation and the influence of environmental electromagnetic fields on human health will be discussed.


1) Introduction to and history of radical pairs
2) Theory refresher on angular momentum, spin and photochemistry
3) Solution phase reaction dynamics
4) Spin Correlated Radical Pairs and the magnetic sensitivity of chemical reactions
5) Magnetic field effects and reaction kinetics
6) Quantum mechanics of SCRPs 1 - Introduction to matrix representations
7) Quantum mechanics of SCRPs 2 - Quantum Mechanics of Electron Spin
8) Quantum mechanics of SCRPs 3 - Quantum Mechanics of Radicals and Radical Pairs
9) Quantum mechanics of SCRPs 4 - Time dependence of Radical Pair dynamics
10) Quantum mechanics of SCRPs 5 - Liouville space simulations
11) Other RP phenomena
12) Radical Pairs in biology
13) Lab visit and discussion
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