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.
Code CHEM443
Coordinator Dr AG Slater
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2016-17 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 7.5

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

Either completion of year 3 of an MChem programme or BSc (Hons) in Chemistry.  


Supramolecular chemistry deals with the interactions between molecules and has become one of the fundamental areas of chemical research. This module aims to introduce students to supramolecular chemistry through lectures and a tutorial. In this module students will attend 15 lectures and 1 tutorial. The general aims of the module are to introduce and develop the students’ knowledge of

  • the chemistry of molecular assemblies and intermolecular bonds, or chemistry beyond the molecule
  • concepts of non-covalent chemistry, host-guest chemistry, molecular recognition, self-assembly and self-organisation.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the students will be

  • knowledgeable of non-covalent bonding such as hydrogen-bonding, ion-ion interactions, ion-dipole interactions, van der Waals forces, pi-pi stacking interactions, solvatophobic forces etc. with respect to  supramolecular chemistry.
  • able to describe, understand and rationalise a range of supramolecular assemblies

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lecture -

Tutorial -



Supramolecular chemistry covers a wide range of systems including host-guest sytems, clathrates, cavitands, supramolecular polymers and gels. In this module, the students will be introduced to concepts such as crystal engineering, self-assembling compounds, dynamic covalent chemistry, molecular self-assembly, host-guest complexes and biological mimics. The syllabus will include:


Introduction to supramolecular chemistry – nature of supramolecular interactions, solvation effects, cooperativity, host-guest interactions, chelation, macrocyclic effect, characterisation of supramolecualr systems.

Cation-binding  – Why bind cations?, Synthesis of macrocycles,  crown ethers, cryptands, spherands, proton binding, calixarenes, Siderophores

Anion binding – Why bind anions, Properties of anions, recognition using electrostatic Hydrogen bonds and Lewis acidic hosts

Simultaneous cation and anion binding – Cascade approach, Separate binding sites

Neutral guest binding – Hydrogen bonds, Hydrophobic effect

Self Assembly – pi-electron donor-acceptor systems, transition metal directed assemblies, hydrogen bond assemblies, anion directed assemblies

Solid state Host-Guest systems – clathrates, calixarenes, molecular crystals

Crystal Engineering – tectons and synthons, crystal nucleation and growth, polymorphism, crystal structure prediction.

Network solids – porosity, zeolites, cages, MOFs

Biological Mimics and Supramolecular Catalysis – enzyme mimics, ion-channel mimics,

Supramolecular Chemistry of Life – porphyrins, plant photosynthesis, enzymes

Interfaces and Liquid Assemblies – surfactants, micelles, vesicles, liquid crystals, supramolecular Polymers

Present and future applications – Phase transfer reagents, separation of mixtures, Sensors, Switches and Molecular Machinary, Supramolecular catalysts, Pharmaceuticals.

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.
Explanation of Reading List:

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 15


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 59


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Unseen Written Exam  2 hours  First  80  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  Assessment 2 Notes (applying to all assessments) Supramolecular chemistry assignment An extended piece of written work (an essay of between 2000-3000 words) on supramolecular chemistry designed to allow students to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the lecture material and of material from their own reading and research of the literature and to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes. This work is not marked anonymously. Written Examination Students resit at the next normal opportunity. Written Examination comprising a mix of problem based and descriptive questions designed to test the students' knowledge and understanding of, and ability to apply, lecture material and structured in such a way as to allow the student to demonstrate achievement of the module learning outcomes.  
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Coursework    first  20  No reassessment opportunity  Standard UoL penalty applies  Assessment 1 There is no reassessment opportunity,