Definition of Molecular Entity

What is a Molecular Entity?

Any constitutionally or isotopically distinct atom, molecule, ion, ion pair, radical, radical ion, complex, conformer etc., identifiable as a separately distinguishable entity.

Molecular entity is used in this glossary as a general term for singular entities, irrespective of their nature, while chemical species stands for sets or ensembles of molecular entities.

Note that the name of a compound may refer to the respective molecular entity or to the chemical species, e.g. methane, may mean a single molecule of CH4 (molecular entity) or a molar amount, specified or not (chemical species), participating in a reaction.

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.

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