Chemical synthesis

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Chemical synthesis is the purposeful execution of one or more named reactions to obtain a product, or several products. [1] In modern laboratory usage, this tends to imply that the process is reproducible, reliable, and established to work in multiple laboratories.


A chemical synthesis—synthesis, in its present meaning, begins with the selection of chemical product target, which often possesses academic, industrial or therapeutic interest to the broader aims of the research effort. Secondary practical concerns also come into play, including researcher availability, availability of material resources (necessary equipment, chemical building blocks), and research budget.[citation needed] A research grant proposal is often submitted to a funding agency (such as National Science Foundation or National Institutes of Health), which describes the background/proposed synthesis and research plans, and secondary concerns. For instance, a prior developed reaction methodology may highlight particular man-made or natural compounds that would serve the purposes of the effort, in highlighting the breadth of the new methodology and possibly providing facile access to complex natural products.[citation needed] Once the target or targets are established, the next critical phase begins, that of synthetic design, typically in modern efforts, in the area of organic synthesis, using retrosynthetic analysis, as championed by E.J. Corey and others.[citation needed]

An eventual step is a selection of compounds that are known as reagents or reactants. Reactants are compounds used in a reaction that combines to form the product of the reaction. Various reaction types can be applied to these to synthesize the product or an intermediate product.[clarification needed] This requires mixing the compounds in a reaction vessel such as a chemical reactor or a simple round-bottom flask.[clarification needed] Many reactions require some form of work-up procedure before the final product is isolated.[1][page needed] The isolation (purification) of the product then proceeds via a variety of methods.[clarification needed]

The amount of product in a chemical synthesis is the reaction yield.[dubious ] Typically, chemical yields are expressed as a weight in grams (in a laboratory setting)[dubious ] or as a percentage of the total theoretical quantity of product that could be produced. A side reaction is an unwanted chemical reaction taking place that diminishes the yield of the desired product.[citation needed][2]


Many strategies exist in chemical synthesis that go beyond converting reactant A to reaction product B in a single step. In multistep synthesis, a chemical compound is synthesized through a series of individual chemical reactions, each with their own workup. [3][full citation needed] For example, a laboratory synthesis of paracetamol can consist of three individual synthetic steps. In cascade reactions multiple chemical transformations take place within a single reactant, in multi-component reactions up to 11 different reactants form a single reaction product and in a telescopic synthesis one reactant goes through multiple transformations without isolation of intermediates.

Organic synthesis[edit]

Organic synthesis is a special branch of chemical synthesis dealing with the synthesis of organic compounds. In the total synthesis of a complex product it may take multiple steps to synthesize the product of interest, and inordinate amounts of time. Skill in organic synthesis is prized among chemists and the synthesis of exceptionally valuable or difficult compounds has won chemists such as Robert Burns Woodward the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. If a chemical synthesis starts from basic laboratory compounds and yields something new, it is a purely synthetic process. If it starts from a product isolated from plants or animals and then proceeds to new compounds, the synthesis is described as a semisynthetic process.

Inorganic synthesis[edit]

Inorganic synthesis[edit]

Organometallic synthesis[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Vogel, A.I., Tatchell, A.R., Furnis, B.S., Hannaford, A.J. and P.W.G. Smith. Vogel's Textbook of Practical Organic Chemistry, 5th Edition. Prentice Hall, 1996. ISBN 0-582-46236-3.[page needed]
  2. ^ Reusch, William (2006-01-01). "Synthesis". Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  3. ^ Advanced Organic Chemistry Part B: Reactions and Synthesis Francis A. Carey,Richard J. Sundberg Springer 2013.[full citation needed]

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