Chemistry 208: Coordination Chemistry

Course Level: 
Second Year
Academic Year: 


The course is structured around five learning Modules. The first module is an introduction to the descriptive aspects of coordination chemistry. The second module will lay the groundwork for describing molecular symmetry, including symmetry operations/elements, point groups, and character tables. Subsequent modules use molecular orbital (MO) theory to understand bonding and involve drawing MO diagrams of ligands/main-group molecules (module 3) and metal complexes (module 4). The fifth and final module will showcase how these topics are used to understand properties of coordination complexes.

Module 1: Introduction to Coordination Chemistry

  • Descriptive coordination chemistry
  • Introduction to ligands
  • Geometry of coordination complexes
  • Isomerism

Module 2: Symmetry and Point Groups

  • Symmetry elements and operations
  • Classifying molecules into point groups
  • Character tables
  • Using symmetry to predict spectroscopic properties of metal complexes

Module 3: Bonding in Ligands

  • Valence Bond theory
  • Symmetry of atomic orbitals
  • Symmetry Adapted Linear Combinations of atomic orbitals (SALCs)
  • Molecular Orbital theory
  • MO diagrams of homodiatomics, heterodiatomics, and polyatomic main-group molecules

Module 4: Bonding in Metal Complexes

  • Crystal Field Theory and d-orbital splitting based on coordination geometry
  • Ligand Field Theory
  • Spectrochemical series
  • High spin vs. Low spin complexes
  • Simplified MO diagrams of coordination complexes
  • Distortions

Module 5: Applications of Symmetry and Ligand Field Theory

  • Colors and UV-visible spectra of coordination complexes
  • Spectroscopic selection rules
  • Magnetism
  • Redox chemistry
  • Special topics (e.g., electrocatalysis, photoredox chemistry, colors of gemstones, intro to bioinorganic chemistry)