The Physical Chemist's Toolbox
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More About This Title The Physical Chemist's Toolbox


The working tools of the physical sciences, expertly organized into one volume

Covering the basic concepts and working tools in the physical sciences, this reference is a unique, indispensable guide for students and researchers in chemistry, physics, and related disciplines. Everyone from novices to experienced researchers can turn to this book to find the essential equations, theories, and working tools needed to conduct and interpret contemporary research. Expertly organized, the book.

  • Summarizes the core theories common to chemistry and physics

  • Introduces topics and techniques that lay the foundations of instrumentation

  • Discusses basic as well as advanced instrumentation and experimental methods

  • Guides readers from crystals to nanoparticles to single molecules

Readers gain access to not only the core concepts of the physical sciences, but also the underlying mathematics. Among the topics addressed are mechanics, special relativity, electricity and magnetism, quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, symmetry, solid state physics, and electronics. The book also addresses energy and electrical sources, detectors, and algorithms. Moreover, it presents state-of-the-technology instrumentation and techniques needed to conduct successful experiments.

Each chapter includes problems and exercises ranging from easy to difficult to help readers master core concepts and put them into practice. References lead to more specialized texts so that readers can explore individual topics in greater depth.

The Physical Chemist's Toolbox is recommended not only as a general reference, but also as a textbook for two-semester graduate courses in physical and analytical chemistry.


ROBERT M. METZGER, PhD, is Professor of Chemistry in the Laboratory for Molecular Electronics at the University of Alabama. He is also affiliated with the university's materials science program. Dr. Metzger's research explores molecular electronics, unimolecular organic rectifiers, electrical conductivity in organic crystals, and carbon nanotubes. He has edited four books and published more than 200 scientific articles in leading journals such as Angewandte Chemie, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Nano Letters, and Chemical Reviews.


Foreword vii

Chapter 1  Introduction: A Physical Chemists’s Toolbox 1

Chapter 2  Particles, Forces, and Mathematical Methods 5

Chapter 3  Quantum Mechanics 121

Chapter 4  Thermodynamics 244

Chapter 5  Statistical Mechanics 284

Chapter 6  Kinetics, Equilibria, and Electrochemistry 335

Chapter 7  Symmetry 387

Chapter 8  Solid-State Physics 443

Chapter 9  Electrical Circuits, Amplifiers, and Computers 503

Chapter 10  Sources, Sensors, and Detection Methods 571

Chapter 11  Instruments 647

Chapter 12  From Crystals to Molecules 781

Appendix 823

Index 903


“In summary, the book is exactly as its titles says: an excellent reference resource or “toolbox” for those working in the field.  It will likely become a classic in its own right.”  (Molecular Crystals and Liquid Crystals, 1 January 2013)