Module FXX-3509:
Advanced Org and Inorg Chem

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Martina Lahmann

Overall aims and purpose

The module aims to introduce the student to advanced specialised topics of inorganic reaction mechanisms and organic synthesis.

Course content

This module covers inorganic reaction mechanisms and advanced organic synthesis with focus on asymmetric synthesis.

Keyword list (inorganic chemistry): Reaction Mechanisms. Classification of inorganic reaction mechanisms. What is a reaction mechanism? How are reaction mechanism studied? Kinetics. Reaction profiles for A, Ia Id and D mechanisms. Substitution at 4-coordinate transition-metal sites: Tetrahedral - Co-ordinatively saturated complexes (D mechanism); unsaturated complexes (A mechanism); competing mechanisms and temperature effects. Square-planar - Associative mechanisms and the role of solvent; evidence for a solvent intermediate; stereochemistry of substitution; influence of entering group (nucleophilicity scales); influence of spectator ligand (trans effect); influence of leaving group; dissociative mechanisms at square planar sites. Substitution at six-coordinate octahedral sites: role of solvent; the solvolysis reaction (leaving group; spectator ligands and stereochemistry); displacement of coordinated solvent (solvent exchange, inert/labile, CFAE, Eigen-Wilkins Id mechanism). Direct substitution without solvent interaction. Base catalysed hydrolysis (Dcb mechanism, tbp intermediate); acid catalysed hydrolysis; redox catalysed substitution. Electron-transfer reactions; classification of reactions: stoichiometry (complementary and noncomplementary reactions), mechanism (inner sphere and outer sphere); differentiation between inner and outer sphere reactions. Outer sphere reactions: self-exchange reactions and Marcus cross theory.

Organic section: This section of the module will revise and expand core concepts of selectivity and specificity, kinetic vs. thermodynamic control, regio- and stereo- control. Also, strategies and challenges in ring formation will be discussed. The material will be illustrated with examples of total synthesis, examined both from the synthetic, retrosynthetic and mechanistic perspective. A particular emphasis will be on diastereoselective and asymmetric synthesis (resolution, asymmetric induction, chiral auxiliary, chiral pool, organo catalysis, bio catalysis, asymmetric catalysis) in the view of both research and industrial applications.

Course Team: Dr M Beckett (12 lectures), Dr M Lahmann (12 lectures)

RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS ESSENTIAL READING 1. Inorganic Chemistry, 3rd Ed., C E Housecroft & A G Sharpe (Prentice Hall), 2008. 2. Organic Chemistry Jonathan Clayden, Nick Greeves, Stuart Warren and Peter Wothers (2nd Ed 2012) RECOMMENDED READING 1..Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, 5th Ed., Cotton & Wilkinson (Wiley) SPECIFIC RESOURCE IMPLICATIONS FOR STUDENTS - None

Assessment Criteria


Threshold (40%). Knowledge and understanding of the content covered in the course is basic; Problems of a routine nature are generally adequately solved; Transferable skills are at a basic level.


Good (~60%). Knowledge base covers all essential aspects of subject matter dealt with in the programme and shows good evidence of enquiry beyond this. Conceptual understanding is good. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved in a logical manner; solutions are generally correct and acceptable. Performance in transferable skills is sound and shows no significant deficiencies.


Excellent (>70%). Knowledge base is extensive and extends well beyond the work covered in the programme. Conceptual understanding is outstanding. Problems of a familiar and unfamiliar nature are solved with efficiency and accuracy; problem-solving procedures are adjusted to the nature of the problem. Performance in transferable skills is generally very good

Learning outcomes

  1. Students will be able to recognize and retrosynthetically analyse a target molecule and be able to plan an effective synthetic approach.

  2. Students will be able to understand the roles of reagents used in synthesis.

  3. Students will be able to have a fundamental understanding how to control reaction processes in terms of selectivity.

  4. Students will be able to understand the various methods for asymmetric synthesis and to link them to worked examples.

  5. Students will be able to accomplish worked examples in synthesis.

  6. Students will be able to demonstrate factual knowledge of substitution and electron transfer reaction mechanisms of transition metal complexes.

  7. Students will be able to understand the factors which affect the rates of substitution and electron transfer reactions of transition metal complexes.

  8. Students will be able to understand experimental reaction rates in terms of reaction mechanisms.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Examination 100

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Lecture 22
Private study 76
Tutorial 2

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy

Subject specific skills

  • CC4 the ability to recognise and analyseProblems andPlanStrategies for theirSolution
  • PS3 Problem-solvingSkills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information
  • PS4 numeracy and mathematicalSkills, including handling data, algebra, functions, trigonometry,Calculus, vectors andComplex numbers, alongside error analysis, order-of-magnitude estimations,Systematic use ofScientific units and different types of dataPresentation
  • SK1 are fullyConversant with major aspects ofChemical terminology
  • SK2 demonstrate aSystematic understanding of fundamentalPhysicochemicalPrinciples with the ability to apply that knowledge to theSolution of theoretical andPracticalProblems
  • SK3 gain knowledge of a range of inorganic and organic materials
  • SK9 read and engage withScientific literature
  • CC1 the ability to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of essential facts,Concepts,Principles and theories relating to theSubject areasCovered in theirProgramme
  • CC2 the ability to applySuch knowledge and understanding to theSolution of qualitative and quantitativeProblems that are mostly of a familiar nature

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module