CHEM61521 Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry

Unit code: CHEM61521
Credit Rating: 15
Unit level: Level 6
Teaching period(s): Semester 1


  • Emphasize aspects of core inorganic chemistry that are essential to the study of organometallic complexes and their reactivity.
  • Introduce topics in advanced concepts of structure, bonding and reaction mechanisms in organometallic chemistry including: organometallic reagents in synthesis, homogeneous catalysis by organometallic complexes, reactions of coordinated ligands.
  • Show how ligand design and synthesis is vital in modern coordination chemistry and can be used to direct structures.
  • Provide an introduction to, and a general overview of, the chemistry and physical properties of the f-block elements.
  • Acquire standard techniques in synthetic  organometallic chemistry: use of non-aqueous solvents, inert atmospheres, column chromatography.


Organometallic Chemistry (Dr A Brisdon, Dr D. Mills)

Foundations of Transition metal Organometallic Chemistry. Homogeneous catalysis and catalytic cycles for hydrogenation, hydroformylation, alkene polymerisation, metal-carbon multiple bonds,  alkene metathesis.

Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry (Dr S. Heath)

Chelate and Macrocyclic ligands, classification and synthesis, metal template methods. Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Metal-Ligand Complex formation, the macrocyclic effect. Molecular recognition: cation, anion and neutral molecule binding; H-bonding, pi-pi stacking and hydrophobic effects. Supramolecular Chemistry. Metal-directed self-assembly, molecular grids, ladders and helices. Topological connectivity, Catenanes and Rotaxanes. Applications of Macrocyclic and Supramolecular chemistry.

f-block Chemistry (Prof. R. Layfield)

Tthe lanthanides: context of lanthanide chemistry, overview of applications; atomic and electronic structure, 4f orbitals; oxidation states and chemical bonding, comparison with the s-block; selected chemistry; spectroscopy and magnetism.. The actinides: occurrence of the actinides in Nature, man-made actinides; electronic structure, comparison of 5f and 4f orbitals; oxidation states, chemical bonding; selected chemistry, spectroscopy and magnetism.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Problem solving involving qualitative and quantitative information; analytical skills involving understanding applying and extending concepts and data, laboratory skills, such as synthesis under an inert atmosphere, handling organometallic complexes.

Assessment methods

  • Laboratory Practical 5%
  • Notes allowed, unseen course test, 25%
  • Written exam, 2.5 hr, 70%

Learning outcomes

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

  • Describe the fundamental mechanistic principles governing the reactivity of transition metal organometallics.
  • Provide the mechanisms of common catalytic organometallic reactions.
  • Formulate synthetic strategies to target specific ligand types, and predict the properties of resultant coordination complexes and supramolecular species.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental chemistry and physical properties of the 4f and 5f elements, and of selected applications of these elements.
  • Interpret spectroscopic data for organometallic and coordination compounds.

Recommended reading

  • M. Bochmann, 'Organometallics 1', Oxford Chemistry Primers, No. 12.
  • M. Bochmann, 'Organometallics 2', Oxford Chemistry Primers, No. 13.
  • C. Elschenbroich, 'Organometallics', 2nd or 3rd eds, VCH.
  • R. Crabtree, 'The Organometallic Chemistry of the Transition Metals', 3rd or 4th eds.
  • P.D. Beer, P.A. Gale, D.K. Smith, 'Supramolecular Chemistry', Oxford Chemistry Primers, No. 74.
  • H.C. Aspinall, ‘Chemistry of the f-block elements, CRC Press.
  • N. Kaltsoyannis and P. Scott, ‘The f-elements’, Oxford Chemistry Primers, No. 76

Feedback methods

Tutorials, Workshops & Blackboard quizzes.

Study hours

  • Lectures – 30 hours
  • Practical classes – 2 x 8 hours
  • Workshops & Tutorials – 8 hours
  • Independent study hours - 96 hours
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