Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Chemistry of the f-Block 4M CHEM5060

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Chemistry
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will examine the chemical and physical properties of f-block elements and their compounds, with an emphasis on the relationship between properties and underlying electronic structure. The concepts of molecular magnetism are introduced and their importance in transition metal and f-element chemistry.


18 hours of lectures and 2 hours of tutorials to be arranged

Requirements of Entry

Admission to the MSc degree programme in Advanced Functional Materials.

Excluded Courses





90 minute written examination

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

To provide students with critical insight and understanding of the chemistry and properties of f-elements and their compounds with emphasis on their electronic structure and magnetic properties.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


1. Recall of the names, symbol and position in the periodic table of f-block elements; describe the shape and extent of 4f and 5f orbitals.

2. Describe trends in redox chemistry in the f-block elements, and uses of lanthanides and actinides in the nuclear industry and medicine.

3. Summarise the magnetic properties of transition metal single-ions and explain the differences and similarities between the chemistry of the lanthanides, the actinides and the d-block transition metal elements.

4. Explain magnetic properties based upon molecular structure and predict such properties in molecular systems.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.