Metal Complexes: Medicine and Materials (CHEM3114)


Coordination compounds, with bonds between a central metal atom and surrounding ligands, play critical roles in biology, biochemistry and medicine, controlling the structure and function of many enzymes and their metabolism. They play similarly vital roles in many industrial processes and in the development of new materials with specifically designed properties. Building on the foundation of crystal field theory, this course offers a comprehensive treatment of the structures and properties of coordination compounds, with a qualitative molecular orbital description of metal-ligand bonds, and their spectroscopic, magnetic and dynamic effects. The exploitation of these properties in medicine and materials will be emphasized. Medical topics include descriptions of the essential and toxic elements of the Periodic Table, metal complexes as anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer drugs, and their use as tumour imaging and radiotherapeutic agents. Materials topics include metal directed self assembly into unique structures, ligand design and control of the synthesis of nanoporous materials with new electronic and magnetic properties and applications in catalysis and molecular separations.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Two 1-hour lectures per week and two 4-hour practicals per week for half of semester.


Assignment, prac reports and oral, final examination (100%)



Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


(CHEM2401 or CHEM2911 or CHEM2915) and (CHEM2402 or CHEM2912 or CHEM2916).



Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.