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  1. Atomic force microscope
  2. Atomic nanoscope
  3. Atom probe
  4. Ballistic conduction
  5. Bingel reaction
  6. Biomimetic
  7. Bio-nano generator
  8. Bionanotechnology
  9. Break junction
  10. Brownian motor
  11. Bulk micromachining
  12. Cantilever
  13. Carbon nanotube
  14. Carbyne
  15. CeNTech
  16. Chemical Compound Microarray
  17. Cluster
  18. Colloid
  19. Comb drive
  20. Computronium
  21. Coulomb blockade
  22. Diamondoids
  23. Dielectrophoresis
  24. Dip Pen Nanolithography
  25. DNA machine
  26. Ecophagy
  27. Electrochemical scanning tunneling microscope
  28. Electron beam lithography
  29. Electrospinning
  30. Engines of Creation
  31. Exponential assembly
  32. Femtotechnology
  33. Fermi point
  34. Fluctuation dissipation theorem
  35. Fluorescence interference contrast microscopy
  36. Fullerene
  37. Fungimol
  38. Gas cluster ion beam
  39. Grey goo
  40. Hacking Matter
  41. History of nanotechnology
  42. Hydrogen microsensor
  43. Inorganic nanotube
  44. Ion-beam sculpting
  45. Kelvin probe force microscope
  46. Lab-on-a-chip
  47. Langmuir-Blodgett film
  48. LifeChips
  49. List of nanoengineering topics
  50. List of nanotechnology applications
  51. List of nanotechnology topics
  52. Lotus effect
  53. Magnetic force microscope
  54. Magnetic resonance force microscopy
  55. Mechanochemistry
  56. Mechanosynthesis
  57. MEMS thermal actuator
  58. Mesotechnology
  59. Micro Contact Printing
  60. Microelectromechanical systems
  61. Microfluidics
  62. Micromachinery
  63. Molecular assembler
  64. Molecular engineering
  65. Molecular logic gate
  66. Molecular manufacturing
  67. Molecular motors
  68. Molecular recognition
  69. Molecule
  70. Nano-abacus
  71. Nanoart
  72. Nanobiotechnology
  73. Nanocar
  74. Nanochemistry
  75. Nanocomputer
  76. Nanocrystal
  77. Nanocrystalline silicon
  78. Nanocrystal solar cell
  79. Nanoelectrochemistry
  80. Nanoelectrode
  81. Nanoelectromechanical systems
  82. Nanoelectronics
  83. Nano-emissive display
  84. Nanoengineering
  85. Nanoethics
  86. Nanofactory
  87. Nanoimprint lithography
  88. Nanoionics
  89. Nanolithography
  90. Nanomanufacturing
  91. Nanomaterial based catalyst
  92. Nanomedicine
  93. Nanomorph
  94. Nanomotor
  95. Nano-optics
  96. Nanoparticle
  97. Nanoparticle tracking analysis
  98. Nanophotonics
  99. Nanopore
  100. Nanoprobe
  101. Nanoring
  102. Nanorobot
  103. Nanorod
  104. Nanoscale
  105. Nano-Science Center
  106. Nanosensor
  107. Nanoshell
  108. Nanosight
  109. Nanosocialism
  110. Nanostructure
  111. Nanotechnology
  112. Nanotechnology education
  113. Nanotechnology in fiction
  114. Nanotoxicity
  115. Nanotube
  116. Nanovid microscopy
  117. Nanowire
  118. National Nanotechnology Initiative
  119. Neowater
  120. Niemeyer-Dolan technique
  121. Ormosil
  122. Photolithography
  123. Picotechnology
  124. Programmable matter
  125. Quantum dot
  126. Quantum heterostructure
  127. Quantum point contact
  128. Quantum solvent
  129. Quantum well
  130. Quantum wire
  131. Richard Feynman
  132. Royal Society's nanotech report
  133. Scanning gate microscopy
  134. Scanning probe lithography
  135. Scanning probe microscopy
  136. Scanning tunneling microscope
  137. Scanning voltage microscopy
  138. Self-assembled monolayer
  139. Self-assembly
  140. Self reconfigurable
  141. Self-Reconfiguring Modular Robotics
  142. Self-replication
  143. Smart dust
  144. Smart material
  145. Soft lithography
  146. Spent nuclear fuel
  147. Spin polarized scanning tunneling microscopy
  148. Stone Wales defect
  149. Supramolecular assembly
  150. Supramolecular chemistry
  151. Supramolecular electronics
  152. Surface micromachining
  153. Surface plasmon resonance
  154. Synthetic molecular motors
  155. Synthetic setae
  156. Tapping AFM
  157. There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom
  158. Transfersome
  159. Utility fog


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


In science, a molecule is an aggregate of two or more atoms in a definite arrangement held together by chemical bonds.[1][2][3][4][5] Chemical substances are not infinitely divisible into smaller fractions of the same substance: a molecule is generally considered the smallest particle of a pure substance that still retains its composition and chemical properties.[6] Certain pure substances (e.g., metals, molten salts, crystals, etc.) are best understood as being composed of networks or aggregates of atoms or ions instead of molecular units.

In the molecular sciences, a molecule is a sufficiently stable, electrically neutral entity composed of two or more atoms.[7] The concept of a single-atom or monatomic molecule, as found in noble gases, is used almost exclusively in the kinetic theory of gases, where the fundamental gas particles are conventionally termed "molecules" regardless of their composition. [8]

 3D (left and center) and 2D (right) representations of the terpenoid molecule atisane.
3D (left and center) and 2D (right) representations of the terpenoid molecule atisane.



Main article: History of the molecule

Although the concept of molecules was first introduced in 1811 by Avogadro, and was accepted by many chemists as a result of Dalton's laws of Definite and Multiple Proportions (1803-1808), with notable exceptions (Boltzmann, Maxwell, Gibbs), the existence of molecules as anything other than convenient mathematical constructs was still an open debate in the physics community until the work of Perrin (1911), and was strenuously resisted by early positivists such as Mach. The modern theory of molecules makes great use of the many numerical techniques offered by computational chemistry. Dozens of molecules have now been identified in interstellar space by microwave spectroscopy.

Molecule overview

The science of molecules is called molecular chemistry or molecular physics, depending on the focus. Molecular chemistry deals with the laws governing the interaction between molecules that results in the formation and breakage of chemical bonds, while molecular physics deals with the laws governing their structure and properties. In practice, however, this distinction is vague. In molecular sciences, a molecule consists of a stable system (bound state) comprising two or more atoms. Polyatomic ions may sometimes be usefully thought of as electrically charged molecules. The term unstable molecule is used for very reactive species, i.e., short-lived assemblies (resonances) of electrons and nuclei, such as radicals, molecular ions, Rydberg molecules, transition states, Van der Waals complexes, or systems of colliding atoms as in Bose-Einstein condensates.

A peculiar use of the term molecular is as a synonym to covalent, which arises from the fact that, unlike molecular covalent compounds, ionic compounds do not yield well-defined smallest particles that would be consistent with the definition above. However, the same problem also arises for some (but not all) covalent compounds. No typical "smallest particle" can be defined for covalent crystals, or network solids, which are composed of repeating unit cells that extend indefinitely either in a plane (such as in graphite) or three-dimensionally (such as in diamond).

While all gases exist as molecules by definition (as the term for gas particles), not all solids and liquids do. In fact, many of the most familiar substances in ordinary experience, such as rocks, crystals, and metals, are composed of atoms or ions, but are not made of molecules.

In a molecule, the atoms are joined by shared pairs of electrons in a chemical bond. It may consist of atoms of the same chemical element, as with oxygen (O2), or of different elements, as with water (H2O).

Molecular size

Most molecules are far too small to be seen with the naked eye, but there are exceptions. DNA, a macromolecule, can reach macroscopic sizes. The smallest molecule is the hydrogen molecule. The interatomic distance is 74 picometres (0.74 Ĺ). But the size of its electron cloud is difficult to define precisely. Typical molecules have a dimension of a few to several dozen Ĺ. The closest thing to observing a molecule directly is by Atomic force microscope.

Molecular formula

The empirical formula of a molecule is the simplest integer ratio of the chemical elements that constitute the compound. For example, in their pure forms, water is always composed of a 2:1 ratio of hydrogen to oxygen, and ethyl alcohol or ethanol is always composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a 2:6:1 ratio. However, this does not determine the kind of molecule uniquely - dimethyl ether has the same ratio as ethanol, for instance. Molecules with the same atoms in different arrangements are called isomers. The empirical formula is often the same as the molecular formula but not always. For example the molecule acetylene has molecular formula C2H2, but the simplest integer ratio of elements is CH. The molecular formula reflects the exact number of atoms that compose a molecule.

The molecular mass can be calculated from the chemical formula and is expressed in conventional atomic mass units equal to 1/12th of the mass of a neutral carbon-12 (12C isotope) atom. For network solids, the term formula unit is used in stoichiometric calculations.

Molecular geometry

Main article: Molecular geometry

Molecules have fixed equilibrium geometries—bond lengths and angles— about which they continuously oscillate through vibrational and rotational motions. A pure substance is composed of molecules with the same average geometrical structure. The chemical formula and the structure of a molecule are the two important factors that determine its properties, particularly its reactivity. Isomers share a chemical formula but normally have very different properties because of their different structures. Stereoisomers, a particular type of isomers, may have very similar physico-chemical properties and at the same time very different biochemical activities.

Molecular spectroscopy

Main article: Spectroscopy

Molecular spectroscopy deals with the response (spectrum) of molecules interacting with probing signals of known energy (or frequency, according to Planck's formula). Scattering theory provides the theoretical background for spectroscopy.

The probing signal used in spectroscopy can be an electromagnetic wave or a beam of particles (electrons, positrons, etc.) The molecular response can consist of signal absorption (absorption spectroscopy), the emission of another signal (emission spectroscopy), fragmentation, or chemical changes.

Spectroscopy is recognized as a powerful tool in investigating the microscopic properties of molecules, in particular their energy levels. In order to extract maximum microscopic information from experimental results, spectroscopy is often coupled with chemical computations.

See also

  • Covalent bond
  • Diatomic molecule
  • Molecular geometry
  • Molecular Hamiltonian
  • Molecular orbital
  • Nonpolar molecule
  • Polar molecule
  • For a list of molecules see the List of compounds
  • List of molecules in interstellar space


  1. ^ Pauling, Linus (1970). General Chemistry. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.. ISBN 0-486-65622-4.
  2. ^ Ebbin, Darrell, D. (1990). General Chemistry, 3th Ed.. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.. ISBN 0-395-43302-9.
  3. ^ Brown, T.L. (2003). Chemistry – the Central Science, 9th Ed.. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-066997-0.
  4. ^ Chang, Raymond (1998). Chemistry, 6th Ed.. New York: McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-115221-0.
  5. ^ Zumdahl, Steven S. (1997). Chemistry, 4th ed.. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-669-41794-7.
  6. ^ Molecule Definition - Frostburg State University (Department of Chemistry)
  7. ^ Definition of Molecule - IUPAC
  8. ^ [1] [2] [3]

External links

  • 3D Molecule Viewer - The Wileys Family
  • Molecule of the Month - School of Chemistry, University of Bristol
  • Antibody Molecule - The National Health Museum


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