CHEM61032 Crystallography and Solid State Chemistry

Unit code: CHEM61032
Credit Rating: 15
Unit level: Level 6
Teaching period(s): Semester 2



The course unit aims to:

  • describe the theory and techniques that have made the diffraction of X-rays by crystals one of the most powerful tools available to chemists;
  • introduce some of the vast array of structures of inorganic extended crystalline solids and illustrate how the structure of the solid is related to the bonding and chemical composition within the solid and its properties are related to the structure, bonding and chemical composition;
  • describe the chemistry of the  metal-organic framework family;
  • Establish an understanding of the techniques and theory underlying X-ray single-crystal and powder diffraction so that the student can employ the methods to maximum effect in their research.


Seeing molecules (Martin Attfield/ Sihai Yang 4 lectures and 4 workshops):

  • Theory and application of single-crystal X-ray diffraction;
  • X-ray powder diffraction;

Structure and Properties of Inorganic Extended Crystalline Solids (Martin Attfield, 7 lectures and 1 workshop):

  • Crystal structures, their descriptions and common inorganic extended crystalline solids;
  • Influence of bonding type and non-bonding electrons on the structures of inorganic solids;
  • Metallic bonding, band theory and electronic conduction in inorganic crystalline solids;
  • Defects, non-stoichiometry and ionic conduction in inorganic crystalline solids.
  • electronic and ionic conduction in the same inorganic crystalline solids;

Metal-Organic Frameworks  (Sihai Yang, 6 lectures and 1 workshop):

  • Crystal engineering in coordination polymers and framework materials
  • Understanding of the crystal structures, porosity and physical properties of MOFs
  • Gas adsorption, separation and storage in porous MOFs
  • Ligand design and post-synthetic chemistry for MOF materials

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 70%
  • Assessed coursework - 20%
  • Crystallisation practical - 10%

Learning outcomes

Students successfully completing this unit should have developed the ability to:

  • Understand crystallographic terminology and selected diffraction theory;
  • Realise the wide range of chemical information available from diffraction based techniques;
  • Possess a knowledge of the variety of structures of inorganic extended crystalline solids;
  • Understand the effect of bonding type and the presence of non-bonding electrons on the structure of inorganic solids;
  • Understand electronic and ionic conduction in inorganic solids and the influence of composition, structure and bonding on these properties;
  • Understand the concepts of crystal engineering and fundamental chemistry of coordination polymer and framework materials ;
  • Understand the fundamental theory of physical adsorption in porous materials ;
  •  Understand the concept of design and modification of solid porous materials.

Students successfully completing this unit should have developed the following professional skills:

  • Concept assimilation;
  • Analytical skills and interpretation of data from structural and analytical techniques;
  • Problem-solving skills;
  • Numeracy, mathematical and computational skills;
  • Investigative skills
  • Communication skills
  • Time management and organizational skills.

Recommended reading

  • P. Atkins and J. dePaula, Atkins' Physical Chemistry, 7th Edition, 2002
  • J. Pickworth Glusker, K.N. Trueblood, Crystal Structure Analysis, 2nd Edition, 1985
  • W. Clegg, Crystal Structure Determination, 1998
  • A. R. West, Basic Solid State Chemistry, 1999
  • L. Smart and E. Moore, Solid State Chemistry An Introduction, 1995
  • H. C. Zhou, J. R. Long, and O. M. Yaghi, Chem. Rev., 2012, issue 2.
  • H.C. Zhou and S. Kitagawa, Chem. Soc. Rev. 2014, issue 43.

Feedback methods

There are three tutorials covering all aspects of the course: students receive feedback from their Inorganic Tutors. In addition, there are 5 workshops where students can attempt questions and receive instant feedback. The three academics delivering the material are also available to see students.

Teaching staff

Martin Attfield - Unit coordinator

Sihai Yang

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