Molecular entity

A molecular entity is "any constitutionally or isotopically distinct atom, molecule, ion, ion pair, radical, radical ion, complex, conformer, etc., identifiable as a separately distinguishable entity".[1] A molecular entity is any singular entity, irrespective of its nature, used to concisely express any type of chemical particle that can exemplify some process: for example, atoms, molecules, ions, etc. can all undergo a chemical reaction.

Chemical species is the macroscopic equivalent of molecular entity and refers to sets or ensembles of molecular entities.

According to IUPAC, "The degree of precision necessary to describe a molecular entity depends on the context. For example 'hydrogen molecule' is an adequate definition of a certain molecular entity for some purposes, whereas for others it is necessary to distinguish the electronic state and/or vibrational state and/or nuclear spin, etc. of the hydrogen molecule."

Notes and references

  1. IUPAC, Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book") (1997). Online corrected version:  (2006) "molecular entity". doi:10.1351/goldbook.M03986
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