AskDefine | Define oligomer

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From oligo- (ὀλίγος, "few") + meros (μέρος, "part").


  1. a compound intermediate between a monomer and a polymer, normally having a specified number of units between about five and a hundred.

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

In chemistry, an oligomer consists of a finite number of monomer units (ολιγος, or oligos, is Greek for "a few"), in contrast to a polymer which, at least in principle, consists of an unbounded number of monomers. Many oils are oligomeric, such as liquid paraffin. Plasticizers are oligomeric esters widely used to soften thermoplastics such as PVC. They may be made from monomers by linking them together, or by separation from the higher fractions of crude oil. Polybutene is an oligomeric oil used to make putty.
In biochemistry, the term oligomer is used for short, single stranded DNA fragments, generally used in hybridization experiments (bound to glass slides or nylon membranes). It can also refer to a protein complex made of two or more subunits. In this case, a complex made of several different protein subunits is called a hetero-oligomer. When only one type of protein subunit is used in the complex, it is called homo-oligomer.
In oligomerization a chemical process only converts monomers to a finite degree of polymerization. The actual figure is a matter of debate, often a value between 10 and 100.


When an oligomer forms as a result of chain transfer the oligomer is called a telomer and the process telomerization . A telomere is a region of highly repetitive DNA at the end of a linear chromosome.

See also


External Links

oligomer in Arabic: قليل وحدات
oligomer in German: Oligomer
oligomer in French: Oligomère
oligomer in Italian: Oligomero
oligomer in Hebrew: אוליגומר
oligomer in Dutch: Oligomeer
oligomer in Japanese: オリゴマー
oligomer in Polish: Oligomery
oligomer in Portuguese: Oligômero
oligomer in Slovenian: Oligomer
oligomer in Finnish: Oligomeeri
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