The simplest possible stable hydrogen polyoxide (the parent molecule) is water, H2O. The general structure of the class of molecules is some number of oxygen atoms single-bonded to each other in a chain. The oxygen atom at each end of this oxygen skeleton is attached to a hydrogen atom. Thus, these compounds form a homologous series with chemical formula H 2O n in which the members differ by a constant relative molecular mass of 16 (the mass of each additional oxygen atom). The number of oxygen atoms is used to define the size of the hydrogen polyoxide (e.g., hydrogen pentoxide contains a five-oxygen backbone).
An oxidanyl group is a functional group or side-chain analog of hydrogen polyoxide that is attached to some structure other than just a hydrogen atom. Examples include the hydroxy (oxidyl) and hydroperoxy (dioxidanyl) groups.
Several molecules are known where one end of the polyoxide chain is protonated and the other is an unprotonated radical:
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