Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Lanthanoid and Actinoid Chemistry
Code CHEM411
Coordinator Prof HC Aspinall
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2022-23 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 7.5

Pre-requisites before taking this module (or general academic requirements):



The aim of the module is to give students an overview of the most important aspects of the unique chemistry and spectroscopy of the lanthanide and actinide elements, illustrated with contemporary examples of the applications of their compounds in chemistry and technology.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will understand the underlying principles of lanthanoid and actinoid chemistry, and how these differ from those of d-transition metal chemistry

(LO2) Students will have an understanding of the most important aspects of spectroscopy of compounds of the lanthanoids

(LO3) Students will have an appreciation of how recent research is developing applications for the elements and their compounds

(LO4) Students will have appreciation of the strategic importance of the elements e.g. in nuclear power and sustainable energy applications

(LO5) Students will be able to read and critically evaluate research papers from the recent literature

(S1) Problem solving skills

Teaching and Learning Strategies

New material is presented asynchronously in pre-recorded lectures with online support material in the form of further reading, discussion boards and revision quizzes. There are three in-person 90 minute problem classes during the course in which students apply their understanding from the lecture material to recent literature papers. The problem classes, prepare students for the type of question they will be assessed on in the assignment and final exam.



Introduction and background
· Occurrence and extraction of the elements
· Electronic structure and magnetic properties of the elements and their complexes
· Oxidation states
· Bonding in complexes

Coordination chemistry
· Coordination numbers and coordination geometries of complexes
· Complexes in aqueous solution: polyaminocarboxylates and related complexes
· Chemistry involved in solvent extraction purification of the elements
· Complexes with O-donor ligands: crown ethers and podands, b-diketonates, alkoxides
· Complexes with N-donor ligands: aromatic N-donors, dialkylamides

Organometallic chemistry
· Structural trends and bonding
· Cyclopentadienyl complexes
· Cyclo-ocatatetraenyl complexes
· Alkyl complexes
· Organometallic hydrides
· Organometallic compounds in low oxidation sta tes

· Electronic absorption spectroscopy
· Luminescence spectroscopy
· NMR spectroscopy of paramagnetic complexes

· NMR shift reagents (including chiral shift reagents)
· Contrast agents for clinical magnetic resonance imaging
· Luminescent compounds: lasers, phosphors, luminescent probes for biological applications
· Catalysts and reagents for organic synthesis

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours           14


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 56.5


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
formal examination. We expect this exam to be held in-person  120    80       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
written assignment    20