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Course: A short introduction to molecular electron transfer theory for an interdisciplinary audience

FRIAS Research Focus: Designed Quantum Transport in Complex Materials


A short introduction to molecular electron transfer theory

for  an interdisciplinary audience


Instructor: Prof Spiros Skourtis

Marie Curie fellow of the European Union
Senior Fellow (2014-2015)
Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)


Room: SR 44/45
Institut für Physikalische Chemie – Lehrstuhl I
Albertstr. 21
79104 Freiburg, Germany
(Any change in location will be announced)


Description of course:

Molecular electron transfer reactions are central to bioenergetics and chemistry, and to several technology fields including  photovoltaics, fuel cells and molecular electronics.

The course is intendend to introduce the basic theory of molecular electron transfer reactions to the highly  interdisciplinary audience comprised of researchers in the above fields.

An effort is made to make the material accessible to physical chemists, physical biologists and to physicists without oversimplifying the presentation.

The course content is to some extend flexible in order to accommodate the needs of the audience.


Part I Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

  • Friday March 6th, 10:15

Newton vs Schroedinger equations, classical trajectories vs wavefunctions, tunneling

Pdf of notes

  • Friday March 13th, 10:15

Observables, operators, mean values and uncertainties

Pdf of notes

  • Friday March 27th, 10:15

Time evolution fo time-independent Hamiltonians: stationary versus non stationary states

Pdf of notes

  • Wednesday April  1st 14.00

Dirac notation

Pdf of notes


Future lectures:

  • Molecular quantum mechanics: the Born-Oppenheimer approximation and the concept of energy surfaces (1-2 lectures)
  • Quantum mechanics with time-dependent Hamltonians, Landau-Zener theory (


Part II Molecular electron transfer reactions


  • General background on  molecular electron transfer reactions
  • Marcus theory of the electron transfer rate (classical nuclear dynamics)
  • Marcus theory of the electron transfer rate (quantum nuclear dynamics)
  • Other topics to be decided with students