CH4515 – Advanced Main Group Chemistry


20 hours


Dr P. Kilian* and Dr A. Stasch

*Module Convenor


To discuss the syntheses, structures, bonding modes, selected spectroscopic features, and selected reactivity examples of a wide range of molecular s- and p-block main group element compounds, including low coordinate mono- and dinuclear species, ring and cage molecules, and main group cluster compounds. The bonding in the different compound classes will be presented and general rules for predicting their geometry will be introduced, e.g. for those of boranes and Zintl anions.  Further advanced topics in s- and p- block chemistry will be introduced, for example the stabilization of heavier main group multiple bonds, low coordinate main group element centres, base stabilised low valent main group compounds, non-classical bonds, frustrated Lewis pairs, weakly coordinating anions and noncovalent bonds.


  1. To know basic electron counting rules for main group and transition metal clusters.
  2. To recognise structural similarities of ring, cage and cluster compounds.
  3. To know and understand properties and reactivities of selected main group compound classes.
  4. To understand the differences and similarities of selected concepts used in organic, organometallic and main group inorganic chemistry.
  5. To understand advanced bonding concepts in main group compounds, i.e. 3 center 2 electron, 3 center 4 electron and π*- π* bonding, and to appreciate the role of noncovalent (hydrogen, halogen and other) bonds in chemistry.
  6. To recognise the importance of ligand properties and steric protection in the synthesis of low coordinate main group compounds including multiply bonded systems and to know the implications for their reactivity.
  7. To know a wide range of contemporary chemical concepts and research topics based on compound classes spanning different groups of s- and p-block elements.
  8. To understand the link between structure and bonding of various main group compound classes and their reactivity, including small molecule activation.