Interaction of adjacent bonds in a chemical compound having alternating single and double covalent bonds. The conjugated bonds show modified characteristics because of increased electron delocalization and sharing. Conjugation occurs, for example, within a molecule containing a chain of carbon atoms linked by alternating single and double bonds. Such a conjugated system often gives rise to substances with intense colours—e.g., the biological pigments called carotenes. Another example is the carboxyl group (see carboxylic acid; functional group), in which the double bond of the carbonyl group (CO) is adjacent to the single bond attaching the hydroxyl group (OH) to the carbon atom.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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