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Organic chemistry

Organic chemistry is a branch of chemistry that studies the structure, properties and reactions of organic compounds, which contain carbon in covalent bonding. Study of structure determines their chemical composition and formula. Study of properties includes physical and chemical properties, and evaluation of chemical reactivity to understand their behavior. The study of organic reactions includes the chemical synthesis of natural products, drugs, and polymers, and study of individual organic molecules in the laboratory and via theoretical (in silico) study.

The range of chemicals studied in organic chemistry includes hydrocarbons (compounds containing only carbon and hydrogen) as well as compounds based on carbon, but also containing other elements, especially oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus (included in many biochemicals) and the halogens. Organometallic chemistry is the study of compounds containing carbon–metal bonds.

In addition, contemporary research focuses on organic chemistry involving other organometallics including the lanthanides, but especially the transition metals zinc, copper, palladium, nickel, cobalt, titanium and chromium.

Organic compounds form the basis of all earthly life and constitute the majority of known chemicals. The bonding patterns of carbon, with its valence of four—formal single, double, and triple bonds, plus structures with delocalized electrons—make the array of organic compounds structurally diverse, and their range of applications enormous. They form the basis of, or are constituents of, many commercial products including pharmaceuticals; petrochemicals and agrichemicals, and products made from them including lubricants, solvents; plastics; fuels and explosives. The study of organic chemistry overlaps organometallic chemistry and biochemistry, but also with medicinal chemistry, polymer chemistry, and materials science.

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Organic compound

In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen bonds. Due to carbon’s ability to catenate (form chains with other carbon atoms), millions of organic compounds are known. The study of the properties, reactions, and syntheses of organic compounds comprises the discipline known as organic chemistry. For historical reasons, a few classes of carbon-containing compounds (e.g., carbonate anion salts and cyanide salts), along with a handful of other exceptions (e.g., carbon dioxide), are not classified as organic compounds and are considered inorganic. Other than those just named, little consensus exists among chemists on precisely which carbon-containing compounds are excluded, making any rigorous definition of an organic compound elusive.

Although organic compounds make up only a small percentage of the Earth’s crust, they are of central importance because all known life is based on organic compounds. Living things incorporate inorganic carbon compounds into organic compounds through a network of processes (the carbon cycle) that begins with the conversion of carbon dioxide and a hydrogen source like water into simple sugars and other organic molecules by autotrophic organisms using light (photosynthesis) or other sources of energy. Most synthetically produced organic compounds are ultimately derived from petrochemicals consisting mainly of hydrocarbons, which are themselves formed from the high pressure and temperature degradation of organic matter underground over geological timescales. This ultimate derivation notwithstanding, organic compounds are no longer defined as compounds originating in living things, as they were historically.

In chemical nomenclature, an organyl group, frequently represented by the letter R, refers to any monovalent substituent whose open valence is on a carbon atom.

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