Skip to main content


NES3403 : Advanced Inorganic Chemistry

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Andrew Houlton
  • Lecturer: Dr Simon Doherty, Dr Keith Izod
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To introduce the fundamental principles and reactions of organometallic chemistry; to introduce concepts of homogeneous catalysis; to demonstrate the diverse chemistry of the s- and p-elements; to introduce inorganic aspects of biological systems and metals in biomedicine.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will be presented in three courses – Organometallic Chemistry; Bio-inorganic Chemistry; Contemporary Main Group Chemistry.

Organometallic Chemistry

*Topics selected from the following
*Background and introduction
*The 18-Electron rule
*Important ligand types; carbonyl (bonding and binary carbonyls)
*Pi-ligands, hydrides, phosphines
*The synthesis of organometallic compounds
*Organometallic reaction mechanisms 1. Reaction at the metal: ligand substitution, oxidative addition and
reductive elimination
*Organometallic reaction mechanisms 2: Reactions involving the ligand: migratory insertion, reductive
elimination and nucleophilic additions and abstractions
*Transition metal carbene complexes: synthesis, structure and reactivity
*Homogeneous catalysis: an introduction

Comparative Main Group Chemistry

Topics selected from the following:
*General principles. Complexes of the s-elements: macrocycles and the macrocyclic effect, alkalides and
*Organometallics of the electropositive metals: an introduction to electron-deficient compounds
*More electron-deficient compounds: boranes and carboranes, Zintl ions
*Low oxidation states of the p-block elements (groups 13 and 14)
*E=E bonds (groups 14 and 15); synthesis and reactions. Phosphorus (V) ylides and related compounds
*E=E’ bonds – stability, synthesis and reactions

Bioinorganic Chemistry

*An introduction to bioinorganic chemistry; the essential metals, metal ion overload-deficiency and treatments.
*An introduction to metalloproteins. Protein structure, metal ion binding groups, protein function and role of
metal ions.
*Further topics selected from the following
*Myoglobin– protein structure and function, haem group, oxidation and spin states of the metal centre before and
after oxygen coordination
*Haemoglobin – protein structure and function, comparison with Mb, the cooperative nature of oxygen binding in
*Metallo-enzymes – details of the structure and function of Zn and Fe-containing systems
*Metal ion binding in DNA. Discovery of metal-containing anti-tumour drugs. mode of action, side effects. Metal-
based drugs

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion13:003:00End of Semester examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion421:0042:00Revision for formative and end of Semester 2 examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture321:0032:00Lectures
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1123:00123:00Background reading, study lecture materials and practice past paper examination questions
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials and revision sessions are delivered electronically and are used to impart knowledge/understanding.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1802A100Examination PiP
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Digital Examination1AAssessment of part module examination
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The formative exam will assess the level of knowledge and understanding from topics studied in semester 1. This will allow the module team to review and feedback on any topic which may have been problematic.

The summative written examination will assess the level of knowledge and understanding of the content of the module. The examination will present students with questions from a selection of topics learnt throughout semester 1 and 2 module content.

Reading Lists