Physical Chemistry: Quantum Mechanics

8 Jun 2019

VIPEr Fellows 2019 Workshop Favorites

Submitted by Barbara Reisner, James Madison University

During our first fellows workshop, the first cohort of VIPEr fellows pulled together learning objects that they've used and liked or want to try the next time they teach their inorganic courses.

1 Mar 2017

Reactivity and Bonding of Complexes with Metal-Metal Bonds

Submitted by S. Chantal E. Stieber, Cal Poly Pomona
Evaluation Methods: 

Evaluation was conducted by the instructor walking around the classroom and addressing individual problems students had.

Evaluation Results: 

From classroom observations, most students were able to properly count electrons and oxidation states for the metals in the complexes and rationalize the ligand coordination modes. Here, the main source of confusion was how to account for the Z-type Co-Zr interaction. The MO diagrams generated the most discussion and were the most difficult part for students (as was expected). The reactivity was also initially conceptually difficult for students, but once they realized how to treat the M-M bonded system, students were able to apply fundamental organometallic reactions to the system. Many students forgot what they had learned about magnetic moments in the previous quarter, but figured it out and were excited to apply knowledge from the previous course. 


This problem set was designed to be an in-class activity for students to practice applying their knowledge of metal-metal bonding (as discussed in the previous lecture) to recently published complexes in the literature. In this activity, complexes from four papers by Christine M. Thomas and coworkers are examined to give students practice in electron counting (CBC method), drawing molecular orbitals, and fundamental organometallic reactions.

Course Level: 
Learning Goals: 

Following the activity, a student should be able to:

·      Determine electron counts and oxidation states of complexes with M-M bonds using CBC electron counting method

·      Draw molecular orbital diagrams for M-M bonds

·      Determine M-M bond order

·      Propose mechanisms for reactions at M-M centers

·      Apply fundamental inorganic chemistry to reports in the literature

Implementation Notes: 

This was implemented in the second quarter of advanced inorganic chemistry (4th year level) before the second midterm as an in-class group activity. The worksheet generated a lot of interest from the students and generated good discussions in a class of 23 students. In the previous lecture, we discussed basic metal-metal bonding, including drawing MO diagrams and determining bond order for homobimetallic complexes. This worksheet was a reasonable extension, requiring students to apply this knowledge to more complicated systems.

Time Required: 
65 min


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