cod. 1004772

Academic year 2020/21
2° year of course - Annual
Academic discipline
Chimica organica (CHIM/06)
Discipline chimiche organiche
Type of training activity
55 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the course the student is expected to:

- Knowledge and understanding: know the supramolecular interactions used in the complexation of cations, anions, neutral molecules and in self-assembly; know the relationship between structure and recognition properties of host systems; know the theory of the methods used to study the complexes stoichiometries and the association constants; know the synthetic methods to obtain the main classes of macrocyclic compounds used as hosts; understand in details molecular recognition phenomena in the biomolecular field.

- Applying knowledge and understanding: plan and perform a UV-vis or NMR titration to determine the association constant, also working in groups; determine the association constant and the stoichiometry of a complex from spectroscopic data applying nonlinear regression methods; collect all the literature information required to plan and perform the synthesis of macrocyclic compounds; understand and predict the relationship between structure and properties of supramolecular systems; understand problems related to molecular recognition phenomena, critically evaluate them and propose specific solutions.

- Making judgements: analyze the structure of a supramolecular complex, identifying the interactions involved in the complex formation and evaluating the kinetic and thermodynamic aspects; evaluate the complementarity and preorganization of a supramolecular host; identify appropriate synthetic pathways to prepare macrocyclic compounds; plan a UV-vis or NMR titration considering the duration and methodology; collect and analyze spectroscopic data for the determination of association constants and autonomously evaluate the results; find and evaluate literature articles in the field of supramolecular chemistry; critically evaluate his knowledge, abilities and results; organize his work and the work of his team.

- Communication skills: present a supramolecular chemistry article from the literature using the appropriate terminology; collaborate con other students and work in teams to plan and perform a UV-vis or NMR titration and use the spectroscopic data to determine an association constant.

- Learning skills: critically discuss the design and the realization of a current research work aimed at synthesizing new molecular receptors, at studying the efficiency and selectivity in the complexation of guests and at the preparation of devices exploiting supramolecular interactions; interpret through the supramolecular chemistry concepts frontier research works in the field, for example, of crystal engineering, supramolecular catalysis, molecular machines, nanotechnology, recognition and mimicking of biomacromolecules; easily collect supramolecular chemistry information from literature, databases and internet.


To fruitfully follow the course it is fundamental to have a solid knowledge of General Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Organic Chemistry.

Course unit content

The course will provide the students the knowledge of the fundaments of Supramolecular Chemistry (molecular recognition, intermolecular forces, thermodynamics of binding processes, synthesis of macrocyclic compounds, complexation of cations, anions, and neutral molecules, interaction with biomacromolecules, self-assembly, supramolecular catalysis) and the ability to apply those concepts in all the chemical fields where molecular recognition phenomena play a key role.

Full programme

Program taught by L. Baldini: Introduction to Supramolecular Chemistry. Molecular recognition. Intermolecular
Thermodynamics of association processes (Ka, deltaG, deltaH, deltaS). Methods for the determination of the stoichiometries of the complexes and of the complexation constants via different techniques (NMR, UV-vis, fluorescence, calorimetry,...).
Methodologies for the synthesis of macrocyclic compounds (crown, aza-crown,
calixarenes, resorcarenes, cyclodextrins, cucurbiturils). Cations, anions and neutral molecules complexation, self-assembly.
Program taught by prof. J. Huskens (visiting professor): Concepts of cooperativity and multivalency and their application in molecular and biomolecular examples. Effective molarity concept. Polyvalent systems and their application in biomolecular and supramolecular material fields. Sensor concepts and sensor devices.


Supramolecular Chemistry textbooks:
Supramolecular Chemistry, P.D. Beer, P. A. Gale, D.K. Smith, Oxford University
Primers, OUP, 1999.
Supramolecular chemistry, J.W. Steed, J.L. Atwood. - 2. ed
Chichester : Wiley, ©2009
Core concepts in supramolecular chemistry and nanochemistry , J.W. Steed, D.R. Turner, K.J. Wallace
Chichester : John Wiley & Sons, 2007

Other texts and monographies:
Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials, J. W. Steed, P. A. Gale, Wiley 2012 (ISBN: 978-0-470-74640-0);

Comprehensive Supramolecular Chemistry. Executive editors Jerry L. Atwood...[et
al.] ; chairman of the editorial board Jean Marie Lehn. - [Oxford] : Pergamon, 1996.
- 11v.

All the books can be found in the chemistry library.

Teaching methods

The educational activities include lessons (5 CFU), and laboratory experiences (1 CFU).

The lessons will be held in presence with the possibility of synchronous remote attendance (via Teams).
The lessons will deal, both with a traditional and an active-learning approach, with the theoretical part of the program. Critical discussion of literature articles and exercises on the determination of binding constants from spectroscopic data will also be performed.
The slides of the lessons will be uploaded every week on the Elly website. To download the slides, registration on the website is required.
In the lab experiences, the students, working in small groups, will perform the synthesis of a molecular host and a Uv-vis and an NMR titration to determine the association constant of a complex. A report of the lab experiences is required at the end of the course.

Assessment methods and criteria

The assessment of the learning achievements will be separate for the two parts of the course. The final mark will be the average of the two evaluations, each on a 1-30 scale.
The evaluation for the first part of the course consists in an oral exam where the student will demonstrate the understanding and ability to apply the fundamental concepts of the course.
In particular, the oral will start with the presentation and discussion of a literature article previously assigned by the teacher. The knowledge of the concepts of supramolecular chemistry will be evaluated, together with the ability to communicate using the appropriate terminology. Then the teacher will ask a few questions with the aim of verifying the knowledge of the key concepts on the complexation of cations, anions, neutral molecules, self-assembly and on the synthesis of macrocycles.
The evaluation of the second part of the class will be obtained through exercises and student presentations assigned by the teacher during the course.

Other information

The dates of the oral exams indicated on the web are referred to the exam regarding the first part of the course. Those dates can be modified on request of the student.
Before the exam, the student will ask the teacher the article to present at the exam.
The exam on the second part of the course (held by the visiting professor) will consist in student presentations or exercises assigned by the teacher during the course.