Asian Conference on Coordination Chemistry in Hong Kong

Asian Conference on Coordination Chemistry in Hong Kong

Author: Neville Compton

The University of Hong Kong played host to the 5th Asian Conference on Coordination Chemistry (ACCC5) from July 11 to 16, 2015. The event, which attracted over 500 participants from 21 countries, was chaired by Professor Vivian Wing-Wah Yam, University of Hong Kong. She recently highlighted the diversity of inorganic chemistry in an Editorial in Angewandte Chemie [1] and the same breadth and fascination is applicable to the aspects of coordination chemistry that were presented at the conference.


Scientific Program

The scientific program featured seven plenary lectures the first of which was delivered by Professor Daniel Nocera, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, founding co-chairman of ChemSusChem, on solar-to-fuels conversion with the artificial leaf [2]. Solar-to-hydrogen efficiencies as high as 10 % have now been achieved and among many other interesting aspects, the lecture showed how the design of the artificial leaf has been advanced by demonstrating a path to liquid fuels. In an electro-chemical process similar to etching, the team patterns catalysts on a silicon substrate. As catalysts they use cobalt phosphate to spur the creation of oxygen and a nickel-zinc alloy for hydrogen. The mechanism is not fully  understond yet, but Nocera and his team at least do understand how to control it.

Professor Song Gao, Peking University, China, spoke about organometallic single-ion magnets [3], one of his many areas of interest. Single-molecule magnets (SMMs) are discrete molecules exhibiting magnet-like behaviorare. They are of particular interest due to their potential applications in high density information storage, quantum computing, molecular spintronics, and magnetic refrigeration.

Professor Hiroshi Nishihara, University of Tokyo, Japan, lectured on coordination programming of 1D and 2D molecular networks; related work from his group will feature on the cover of the August 2015 issue of ChemPlusChem [4]. Part of the lecture described a bottom-up method for the fabrication of 1D molecular wires of bis(terpyridine)metal oligomers on gold and silicon surfaces.

Professor Peter Sadler, University of Warwick, UK, gave an entertaining and informative lecture on precious metal anticancer complexes with new mechanisms of action [5]. Among the complexes discussed were some photoactivatable platinum(IV) and ruthenium(II) complexes that show promise as anticancer agents, as well as some arene and cyclopentadienyl anticancer complexes of ruthenium(II), osmium(II), rhodium(III) and iridium(III) that can bind to DNA through coordination and arene intercalation [6, 7].

Professor Guy Bertrand, University of California, San Diego, USA, presented recent interesting results on stable singlet carbenes for the stabilization of highly reactive transition metal complexes [8]. According to this work, cyclic (alkyl)(amino)carbenes (CAACs) can stabilize metals in a formal zero oxidation state. And in fact, bis(CAAC)M complexes have been isolated in which the metal is gold, copper, cobalt, iron, nickel, manganese and zinc.

Professor Wonwoo Nam, Ewha Womans University, Korea, gave the audience some great insights into the elucidation of the structures of reactive intermediates and mechanistic details of dioxygen activation and oxygenation reactions occurring at the active sites of enzymes, by utilizing synthetic metal-oxygen complexes [9]. Dioxygen is essential in life processes. It is activated by enzymes to carry out a variety of biological reactions. Nam and his team have isolated, characterized, and investigated a growing class of metal-oxygen complexes, such as metal-superoxo, -peroxo, -hydroperoxo, and -oxo species.

A fitting finale to the scientific program was delivered by Professor Chi-Ming Che, University of Hong Kong, who gave a fascinating lecture on the fundamentals and translational applications of long-lived emissive electronic excited states in solutions [10]. Such systems can be applied in diverse areas including bimolecular photocatalysis, energy conversion reactions, and optoelectronics. Making the lecture particularly, topical given that 2015 is the International Year of Light.
Professor Che, who has been very active in this field, is among the most prolific authors in Chemistry – A European Journal, where he has published over 60 papers in the journal’s 20 year history [11].


Sucessful Event

The importance of the event to the inorganic and coordination chemistry community was exemplified by the presence of Professor William B. Tolman, Editor-in-Chief of Inorganic Chemistry, Philip Mountford, Chairman of the Editorial Board of Dalton Transactions, and its new Editor Andrew Shore, as well as Louis Oro, President of the Owner Society for the European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, and its Deputy Editor Preeti Vashi.

There were many other excellent lectures at the conference which offered a packed program comprising 45 Keynote Lectures, for example by Susumu Kitagawa, Kyoto University, Japan, the author of the most cited article of all time in Angewandte Chemie and co-chairman of ChemNanoMat, 54 Invited Lectures, 61 Oral Presentations and over 250 poster presentations.

In his opening address to the delegates, Professor Masahiro Yamashita, Tohoku University, Japan, had outlined that the “aims of the conference are to provide a forum for inorganic and coordination chemists from all over the world to gather together and present their most recent research findings, and to offer a stimulating atmosphere to discuss and exchange ideas on the most frontier research topics in inorganic and coordination chemistry.”

Following a welcome reception which set the tone for the relaxed atmosphere for the whole event, and the stimulating lectures that were given by the excellent speakers, the aims of the conference and its organizers were well and truly met. Congratulations to Vivian Wing-Wah Yam, Secretariat Kenneth Kam-Wing Lo, City University of Hong Kong, and all the other members of the local organizing committee and theirs students and co-workers for making the event such an enjoyable occasion.

ACCC6, which will take place in 2017 in Melbourne, Australia, has a tough act to follow. But I’m sure the coordination chemistry community will be out in force again to showcase the progress made in this dynamic field of research.



[1] Inorganic Chemistry – A Prestigious History and a Bright Future, Jonathan Faiz, ChemViews Mag. June 2015.

[2] The Solar Opportunity, Nathan S. Lewis, Daniel G. Nocera, The Bridge, 2015, 45, 41.

[3] Influence of Guest Exchange on the Magnetization Dynamics of Dilanthanide Single-Molecule-Magnet Nodes within a Metal-Organic Framework, Xuejing Zhang, Veacheslav Vieru, Xiaowen Feng, Jun-Liang Liu, Zhenjie Zhang, Bo Na, Wei Shi, Bing-Wu Wang, Annie K. Powell, Liviu F. Chibotaru, Song Gao, Peng Cheng, Jeffrey R. Long, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201503636

[4] Interfacial Synthesis of Electrically Conducting Palladium Bis(dithiolene) Complex Nanosheet, Tigmansu Pal, Tetsuya Kambe, Tetsuro Kusamoto, Maw Lin Foo, Ryota Matsuoka, Ryota Sakamoto, Hiroshi Nishihara, ChemPlusChem 2015. DOI: 10.1002/cplu.201500206

[5] Platinum(II)-Gadolinium(III) Complexes as Potential Single-Molecular Theranostic Agents for Cancer Treatment, Zhenzhu Zhu, Xiaoyong Wang, Tuanjie Li, Silvio Aime, Peter J. Sadler, Zijian Guo, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 13225–13228. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201407406

[6] Easy To Synthesize, Robust Organo-osmium Asymmetric Transfer Hydrogenation Catalysts, James P. C. Coverdale, Carlos Sanchez-Cano, Guy J. Clarkson, Rina Soni, Martin Wills, Peter J. Sadler, Chem. Eur. J. 2015, 21, 8043–8046. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201500534

[7] 100 years of metal coordination chemistry: from Alfred Werner to anticancer metallodrugs, Nicolas P. E. Barry, Peter J. Sadler, Pure Appl. Chem. 2014. DOI: 10.1515/pac-2014-0504

[8] Cyclic (Alkyl)(Amino)Carbenes (CAACs): Stable Carbenes on the Rise, Michèle Soleilhavoup, Guy Bertrand, Acc. Chem. Res. 2015, 48, 256–266. DOI: 10.1021/ar5003494

[9] Tuning Reactivity and Mechanism in Oxidation Reactions by Mononuclear Nonheme Iron(IV)-Oxo Complexes, Wonwoo Nam, Yong-Min Lee, Shunichi Fukuzumi, Acc. Chem. Res. 2014, 47, 1146–1154. DOI: 10.1021/ar400258p

[10] Luminescent Pincer Platinum(II) Complexes with Emission Quantum Yields up to Almost Unity: Photophysics, Photoreductive C–C Bond Formation, and Materials Applications, Pui-Keong Chow, Gang Cheng, Glenna So Ming Tong, Wai-Pong To, Wai-Lun Kwong, Kam-Hung Low, Chi-Chung Kwok, Chensheng Ma, Chi-Ming Che, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 2084–2089. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201408940

[11] Celebratory Chemistry!, Neville Compton, Chem. Eur. J. 2015, 21, 5–11. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201406300


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