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CHEM 220 Organic Chemistry

Introduction to using the organic chemistry literature

Chemical Names (and Other Identifiers)

Chemical substances are often identified by different names.  Some names are common or trade names (e.g., menthol or atorvastatin).  Others are systematic names, which can be very lengthy, but convey information about the structure of the molecule.  A systematic name for menthol is 2-isopropyl-5-methylcyclohexanol; for atorvastatin is  (3R,5R)-7-[2-(4-fluorophenyl)-3-phenyl-4-(phenylcarbamoyl)-5-propan-2-ylpyrrol-1-yl]-3,5-dihydroxyheptanoic acid

In addition to having names, chemical substances are also identified in other ways.  One common way identifier is the CAS Registry Number (CAS RN).  This is a unique numerical identifier for a specific chemical substance.

You can search in databases like SciFinder and Reaxys using chemical names (both systematic and common/trade names) or by CAS RN.  SciFinder has a one page guide to help you navigate name/identifier searching:

How to Explore by Substance Identifier

Chemical Structure Searching

Many chemical databases and information sites are unique in that not only text but structures can be used to search for data, spectra, articles and more.  Each database or information site approaches structure searching slightly differently, but generally there will be a graphical structure editor where a chemical structure is drawn using a special set of tools that create atoms, bonds and other features of a chemical structure.  Here are some sources for help in learing to use chemical drawing tools for structure searching in various databases and information sites.

SciFinder Training Videos - Structure Searching

How to Create a Structure Drawing in Reaxys

How to Search by Structure in ChemSpider