What Are Ligands?

The Chemistry of Art > 5. Complexes > What Are Ligands? >

Describe molecules or ions attached to a metal ion in a complex ion as ligands


  • A complex ion has
    • A central metal cation
    • Surrounded by a group of anions or molecules
    • These are known as ligands
  • Compounds that contain complex ions are called coordination compounds


  • Examples include
    • Anions (E.g Cl or CN)
    • Polar molecules (E.g H2O or NH3)
  • Co-ordinate covalent bonds form between the ligands and the transition metal ion
    • Uses the lone pair electrons of the ligand