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Physical Chemistry and Molecular Interactions

Physical Chemistry and Molecular Interactions (UE S1-9)

With decreasing size of systems, the influence of surface effects starts to dominate over volume effects. This course presents the intermolecular forces and the surface force which govern the interactions in matter on the submicron scale and thus determine the mechanical and fluidic properties of micro-systems, such as adhesion, friction, and functionalization.

Outline of the course

  • Main types of interactions in colloidal matter
    short- and long-range interactions, specific interactions, examples
  • Van der Waals interactions between molecules and surfaces
  • The Laplace model of surface tension
    Surface energy, adhesion energy, classical theory of capillarity, thermodynamic aspects, contact angles, wetting, high- and low-energy surfaces
  • Measurement techniques for interactions and weak forces
    the Deryaguin approximation, atomic force microscopy, surface forces, vesicle-based methods


  • written exams

Prior knowledge

Basics of Physics, mechanics of point masses and solids, thermodynamics, free energy and enthalpy, chemical potential, phase diagrams, electrostatics

course volume

  • lectures: 12 hours
  • tutorials: 12 hours
  • lab project: 6 hours
  • ECTS: 4