Molecular Interactions in Organic Chemistry

Unit code: CHEM40422
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 4
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by School of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit?: N




The course unit aims to:

  • Develop an understanding of extended electronic conjugation in isolated molecular and macromolecular systems. Extend this understanding to thin films and single crystals of these materials and discuss the application of these materials in light emitting diodes, field effect transistors  and solar cells.
  • Provide an understanding of supramolecular chemistry, its importance in chemistry, biology and materials science, and describe some applications in modern chemical research.
  • Provide an understanding of the principles and theory behind making and operating machines at the molecular level. The mechanisms behind biological molecular machines serve as inspiration for the design of synthetic systems.




Molecular Electronics/Organic Materials (M. Turner, 8 lectures)

  • Delocalisation of s and p-electrons.
  • Organic semiconductors (p- and n-types) and conductors.
  • OLEDs, OFETs and solar cells.


Supramolecular Chemistry (S.J. Webb, 8 lectures)

  • Types of supramolecular interactions
  • Quantifying supramolecular interactions
  • Applications of supramolecular chemistry


Molecular Machines (D. Leigh/G. De Bo, 8 lectures)

  • Principles governing the operation of molecular machines.
  • Design and synthesis of molecular switches, motors and other machines.
  • Chemical topology



Knowledge and understanding

Students should be able to:

  • Understand the impact of extended delocalisation on the optical and electronic properties of organic materials.
  • Understand supramolecular interactions and their importance in chemical and biological systems.
  • Understand how to design and synthesize rudimentary artificial molecular machines, including appreciating the principles governing their operation.

Intellectual skills

Students should be able to:

  • Explain the electronic properties of organic materials
  • Describe the principles that underpin the operation of electronic and optoelectronic devices using organic materials
  • Describe and quantify supramolecular interactions.
  • Design and outline synthetic strategies to various types of artificial molecular switches, motors and other machines.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students will be able to:

  • Participate in related research projects and have discussions with researchers in the field.

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 100%

Recommended reading

  • Organic Chemistry J Clayden, N Greeves, S Warren and P Wothers (Oxford University Press, 2001) ISBN 0198503466
  • Supramolecular Chemistry J W Steed and J L Atwood (Wiley, 2000) ISBN 0471987918
  • Supramolecular Chemistry F Vogtle (Wiley, 1991) ISBN 047192802X
  • Synthetic Molecular Motors and Mechanical Machines, E. R. Kay, D. A. Leigh and F. Zerbetto, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 46, 72-191 (2007).

Feedback methods

Students are expected to work through and submit for feedback written answers to problems issued during the lectures (and available on Blackboard). These answers will be returned after marking and discussion and model answers placed on BlackBoard.

Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 2 hours
  • Lectures - 24 hours
  • Independent study hours - 74 hours

Teaching staff

Michael Turner - Unit coordinator

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