Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon


    Principles of main group chemistry illustrated by the chemistry of the hydrides and organometallic compounds of the Main Group elements. Basic coordination chemistry emphasising structure and bonding in coordination complexes. An introduction to lanthanides and to symmetry in chemistry.

    CHEM 203 Main Group and Coordination Chemistry focuses on how the concepts and techniques of chemical science can be used to gain an understanding of the synthesis, structure and reactivity of inorganic and organometallic molecules.

    About this paper

    Paper title Main Group and Coordination Chemistry
    Subject Chemistry
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    CHEM 111 or CHEM 112 or CHEM 191
    Recommended Preparation
    CHEM 111 and (CHEM 191 or CHEM 112)
    Schedule C

    Professor James D. Crowley
    Tel 64 3 479 7731
    Location: Science II, 2N10

    Teaching staff

    Course Co-ordinator: Professor James D. Crowley
    Professor Lyall R. Hanton
    Professor Sally A. Brooker
    Professor Keith C. Gordon
    Dr John McAdam

    Paper Structure

    The topics covered in CHEM 203 include:

    • Shape, Symmetry and Structure
      • Symmetry elements, symmetry operators and their consequences in discrete molecules
      • Point groups, character tables and their use in describing chemical bonding
      • An introduction to space groups
    • The Periodic Table and Chemical Bonding: Chemistry of some main group elements including main group organometallic chemistry
      • The periodic table, its history and development and periodic trends within the table
      • Theories of chemical bonding and the nature of bonding of organic groups to main group elements: σ-donor, π-donor
      • Bonding in main group compounds, with particular emphasis on the boron hydrides
      • Main group Lewis acids and bases and hard and soft acid and bases (HSAB) principles
      • Structural methods in main group chemistry - multinuclear NMR, IR and ESI-MS
      • Hapacity, metal alkyls, reactivity and β-elimination
    • Chemistry of Coordination Compounds
      • Transition metal (TM) complexes, the nature of TM ligand bonds and the classification of ligands
      • Stereochemistry and stereoisomerism in coordination compounds
      • Crystal-field theory, hole formalism and application to octahedral, tetrahedral and square planar geometries
      • Electronic spectra and magnetism as a tool to investigate the properties of co-ordination compounds
      • The Jahn-Teller effect and its consequences
    • Chemistry of Lanthanoids and their Complexes
      • Introduction to lanthanoid metals (Ln's) and Ln coordination compounds
      • The basis of two types of practical applications of Ln complexes: as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) agents and as luminescent materials
    Teaching Arrangements
    There are three lectures and one 4-hour laboratory class each week.
    Highly Recommended:
    Housecroft and Sharpe, Inorganic Chemistry 4th edition
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes
    Expectations at the completion of the course:
    • An appreciation of the breadth and excitement of modern inorganic chemistry and its relationship to the discipline of chemistry and other sciences
    • An understanding, through the selected lecture themes, of how concepts of bonding, co-ordination chemistry and solid-state structure can be used to predict and rationalise the synthesis, structure and reactivity of inorganic and organometallic compounds
    • Through self-directed learning, stimulation of students to evaluate the limitations and extensions of these concepts and apply them to examples from several disciplines
    • The attainment of practical, problem-solving and time-management skills
    • All students will have acquired knowledge and understanding of the foundation concepts of inorganic chemistry


    Semester 2

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 29-35, 37-42
    Thursday 11:00-11:50 29-35, 37-42
    Friday 11:00-11:50 29-35, 37-42


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Monday 14:00-17:50 29-35, 37-42
    A2 Thursday 14:00-17:50 29-35, 37-42
    A3 Friday 14:00-17:50 29-35, 37-42
    Back to top