In chemistry, isomers are molecules or polyatomic ions with identical molecular formulas — that is, same number of atoms of each element — but distinct arrangements of atoms in space.[1] Isomerism is existence or possibility of isomers.

Isomers do not necessarily share similar chemical or physical properties. Two main forms of isomerism are structural or constitutional isomerism, in which bonds between the atoms differ; and stereoisomerism or spatial isomerism, in which the bonds are the same but the relative positions of the atoms differ.

Isomeric relationships form a hierarchy. Two chemicals might be the same constitutional isomer, but upon deeper analysis be stereoisomers of each other. Two molecules that are the same stereoisomer as each other might be in different conformational forms or be different isotopologues. The depth of analysis depends on the field of study or the chemical and physical properties of interest.

The English word "isomer" (/ˈsəmər/) is a back-formation from "isomeric",[2] which was borrowed through German isomerisch[3] from Swedish isomerisk; which in turn was coined from Greek ἰσόμερoς isómeros, with roots isos = "equal", méros = "part".[4]

Types of isomers.