Submitted by Amy Price / UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on Fri, 05/26/2023 - 15:24
Additional Authors
My Notes

This literature discussion focuses on a 2022 Nature Comm paper looking at the reasons behind the pyramidal structures of tri-coordinate f-element complexes. There is plenty to discuss in terms of bonding and coordination geometries in metal complexes, and the effects of pressure on coordination geometry.

Attachment Size
Student handout with questions 25.33 KB
Learning Goals


In answering these questions, a student will:

-be able to explain why bonding in the actinides is primarily ionic

-understand the contributing factors towards geometries of tri-coordinate f-element complexes including dipole moments, dispersion forces, weak orbital overlap and agostic interactions between the ligand and metal.

-discuss the influence of pressure on solids in the context of molecular volume


Implementation Notes

I suggest using this as a small group exercise in class, but asking them to read the paper and think about the questions and/or write answers to the questions ahead of class as homework. I would ask each group to discuss their answers together for one or two questions for 5-10 minutes, and then ask them to present their answers to the class.

Time Required
60 mins
Evaluation Methods

You could either grade their group presentations and their contribution to the discussion, or ask the students to hand in written answers after the class.

Evaluation Results

I have not run this class yet - possibly timing will be an issue. I suggest choosing questions from the problem set that suit your teaching needs.

Creative Commons License
Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike CC BY-NC-SA