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3DNormalModes (Normal Modes)
Developed by Nickolas D. Charistos,
Scientific supervisors: Michael P. Sigalas, Constantinos A. Tsipis
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki - Greece
Downloadable material
Modelling, Self-learning
Fundamental Chemistry
Upper Secondary School
Prerequisites: The application uses the Macromedia Shockwave plug-in and has been designed and developed especially for the Web. It has a simple graphical user interface and requires a download of only 120 KB, allowing it to be used even with low bandwidth Internet connections. Its performance is comparable to a desktop application. 3DNormalModes requires Windows XP, 2000, ME, or 98. A 3-D accelerator such as DirectX 7.0 (recommended) or OpenGL is suggested, but not required. The Shockwave Player needs to be already installed.

Contents – Task Description: 3D Normal Modes is a Web application for interactive visualization and three-dimensional perception of the normal modes of molecular vibration, suitable both for upper secondary students in advance chemistry and for undergraduate students in chemistry.
3DNormalModes enables chemistry teachers and students to choose one of 28 different molecules, orient it appropriately on the screen, choose any of its normal vibrational modes, and animate molecular vibrations in 3D. 3DNormalModes includes a database of experimental fundamental frequencies and the corresponding normal modes of a representative sampling of inorganic and organic molecules. Whatever molecule has been selected occupies the major portion of the screen, and all of the functions of the program are readily available via mouse clicks. A molecule is selected from a list of 28 compounds, which may be sorted by name, chemical formula, or symmetry by clicking the appropriate word. When a molecule has been selected, 3DNormalModes displays a list of its normal-mode frequencies along with simplified IR and Raman spectra. A normal mode is selected by clicking on a frequency in the list, or on one of the lines in either the IR or Raman spectrum. This begins a 3-D animation of the selected normal mode. Optional displacement vectors show the extent and direction of motion for each atom in the molecule. With sliding controls, you can stop and restart the animation, change its speed, and change how far the atoms are displaced. You can also rotate, translate, and zoom a molecule to reach the best vantage point from which to view its motion.
In summary, with 3DNormalModes you can:
• Animate each normal mode in a 3-D environment.
• Rotate, translate, and zoom to any viewpoint.
• Adjust the speed of the animation.
• Display atom displacement vectors.
• Adjust the length of the displacements of the atoms.
• Display simplified IR and Raman spectra and from them select a fundamental frequency.
• View information about the selected molecule and normal mode.

Aims: This teaching resource aims at encouraging self-learning by enhancing the motivation to learn chemistry. The material is presented in a user-friendly and easy-to-follow manner and it aims to help students make the connection between the macroscopic (IR and Raman spectra) and microscopic level (molecular vibration) and to understand more about these topics.

Use in class: The tasks to be performed by the students are described in a clear way. The material is designed mainly for use by the students themselves for self-learning and self-evaluation. The teacher can incorporate the teaching resource in the class practice via the use of an interactive blackboard, in order to stimulate discussion which will eventually lead to the acquisition of new knowledge.
This teaching resource is designed in a user-friendly manner and provides a convenient way to illustrate how a molecule vibrates and the properties of its normal modes of vibration in a real 3D environment. This interactive application can have a significant effect in motivating students to explore and visualize the world of chemistry. The material is scientifically reliable as the normal modes have been obtained from ab initio HF/3-21G calculations. The resource can be used as an excellent tool for introducing the student to the visualization of chemistry. It also helps the student make the connection between the macroscopic and microscopic levels of chemistry.
TEI of Ionian Islands

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2013.02.03

Posted by Fernando Hernández Mateo (Spain)

Message: The present educational resource is designed to illustrate the vibrating motions of covalent bonds in a simple molecular series in an easy and attractive way, as well as to visualize the spectroscopic (Infrared and Raman Spectrums) properties that come about from such vibrations.
The resource, in spite of its simplicity and its limitation when selecting molecules that can be visualized, is useful given that it helps students acquire a realistic vision of the fact that the covalent bonds -and, therefore, the molecules- are dynamic entities. This prepares students to move away from the static conception that they subconsciously acquire, which is normally due to seeing representation of the chemical compounds in graphic mediums that are static.
The resource is also useful to help students understand that many of the macroscopic properties of the chemical compounds are expressions of the phenomena that occur at the microscopic level.
For both of the aforementioned reasons we believe that the resource can increase students’ interest towards chemistry by preparing them to have a more realistic vision of compounds at the molecular level.

Date: 2012.11.29

Posted by Maria João Seixas Melo (Portugal)

Message: A simple but effective demonstration of the vibrational modes for a selection of small organic molecules, as well as for water, CO2 and SO2. It simultaneously displays their location on a simplified Raman and Infrared spectrum, highlighting whether the mode is active or inactive.

The visual image can help the student approaching faster the infrared or Raman spectrum, and overcome the difficulties that he/she may experience during the first interpretations. On my Macintosh I could not enlarge the image of the spectra, and that was the only drawback I found (perhaps due to my browser version, Safari 4.0).

The simplicity of the site makes it effective because the user does not waste time with minor details, focusing on the essential information needed to understand the data contained in Raman or infrared spectrum.

Date: 2012.10.03

Posted by Mehmet Polat KALAK (Turkey)

Message: This teaching resource includes a suitable way to illustrate how a molecule vibrates and the properties of its normal modes of vibration in 3D. With this program you mobilize a normal mode of a selected molecule and rotate or zoom in/out the molecule. This allows you can observe it from any viewpoint. Furthermore you adjust the length of the displacements of the atoms. Selected molecules by students to examine as they want makes this program more interesting and fun. This features of program encourage the student to self-learning and rises the motivation for learning the chemistry . İt base on modelling and self-learning approaches.
The chemistry student can reach the program easily and download it their computer. it aims to help the students learn more information about molecular vibration. Finally, this educational program is very useful for teachers in order to obtain new information about the molecules with the chemistry students…

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.