The course comprises of three equally important parts: theory, exercises and practicum sessions, which are all of importance in attaining the learning outcomes.
In first instance basic analytical unit operations are considered, that are required for correctly executing analytical chemical experiments. Types, sources and estimation of errors in chemical analysis are an important part of these chapters. Finally, different calibration methods are explained and illustrated.
In the next part of the course the chemical equilibrium is considered, and how it can be employed in pH calculations, precipitation reactions, separation techniques and complexation reactions. Basic insights are gathered in the methodology, which will eventually be applied in more complex mixtures.
The following part deals with classical gravimetric and volumetric analysis. After a short introduction on the basic methodology, emphasis is laid on the use and application of the knowledge gathered from the chapters on chemical equilibrium, in combination with general knowledge on organic and inorganic chemistry. This way insight is gathered in how an analysis protocol is constructed and how it can be adapted for another application or procedure. The theory starts with simple neutralization reactions and expands towards titrations of more intricate acid/base mixtures and complexation titrations. Several numerical examples will be treated in college in order to better understand and immediately apply the theory.
Molecular spectrometry is discussed with the emphasis on UV-VIS-IR absorption spectrometry and atomic absorption spectrometry. Terminology, fundamental light-matter interaction, as well as analytical instrumentation are dealt with in this part of the course.
Instrumental separation techniques are essential in the analysis of complex (organic) samples. Basic terminology on 2-phase separations in discrete or continuous systems is explained, as well as the practical parameters that allow to improve the separation efficiency. Next, the two most important techniques are discussed in detail: GC and HPLC. Both methods are discussed with regard to the operating principle, methodological parameters, separation optimization and instrumentation. Connection with mass spectrometry is another important feature. The chromatography techniques are treated by starting with the simple essentials and gradually evolving to high-tech applications.
In the next part a short introduction is given in electrochemical methods. Determination of electrode and cell potentials, as well as potentiometric applications are the major themes of this section.
Finally several recent analysis tools are discussed that are not dealt with during the practicum sessions. More specifically, the principles and applications of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) are treated.