Journal of Chemical Sciences

, Volume 121, Issue 3, pp 235–256 | Cite as

Quest for new materials: Inorganic chemistry plays a crucial role

  • J. GopalakrishnanEmail author
  • Rohini Mani


There is an endless quest for new materials to meet the demands of advancing technology. Thus, we need new magnetic and metallic/semiconducting materials for spintronics, new low-loss dielectrics for telecommunication, new multi-ferroic materials that combine both ferroelectricity and ferromagnetism for memory devices, new piezoelectrics that do not contain lead, new lithium containing solids for application as cathode/anode/electrolyte in lithium batteries, hydrogen storage materials for mobile/transport applications and catalyst materials that can convert, for example, methane to higher hydrocarbons, and the list is endless! Fortunately for us, chemistry — inorganic chemistry in particular — plays a crucial role in this quest. Most of the functional materials mentioned above are inorganic non-molecular solids, while much of the conventional inorganic chemistry deals with isolated molecules or molecular solids. Even so, the basic concepts that we learn in inorganic chemistry, for example, acidity/basicity, oxidation/reduction (potentials), crystal field theory, low spin-high spin/inner sphere-outer sphere complexes, role of d-electrons in transition metal chemistry, electron-transfer reactions, coordination geometries around metal atoms, Jahn-Teller distortion, metal-metal bonds, cation-anion (metal-nonmetal) redox competition in the stabilization of oxidation states — all find crucial application in the design and synthesis of inorganic solids possessing technologically important properties. An attempt has been made here to illustrate the role of inorganic chemistry in this endeavour, drawing examples from the literature as well as from the research work of my group.


Materials for technology role of inorganic chemistry acidity/basicity oxidation/reduction crystal field theory Jahn-Teller distortions mixed valence metal-metal bonding 


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© Indian Academy of Sciences 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Solid State and Structural Chemistry UnitIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

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