Difference Between Analysis and Synthesis

Analysis vs Synthesis

Difference between analysis and synthesis can be discussed under various contexts as the two terms ‘analysis’ and ‘synthesis’ are widely used in many areas including science, mathematics, computer science, economics, and engineering. But, this articles focuses only on chemical analysis and chemical synthesis. Chemistry is an experimental science, and it involves transformation of one or more compounds to another compound(s). The two operations, ‘analysis’ and ‘synthesis’ are equally important in Experimental Chemistry. They both involve several steps in the process and it requires following a sequence by providing required conditions. These two operations are interdependent, but both of them have unique roles in experimental chemistry.

What is Chemical Analysis?

In general, the term analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic/substance into smaller sub-units to get a precise understanding by reducing the complexity of the problem. It may involve several steps and several techniques, depending on the nature of the problem. In Chemistry, chemical analysis involves various techniques and methods to simplify chemical analytical processes. Basically, it can be divided into three areas: qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis, and analysis of chemical processes and reactions between elements of matter.

Qualitative analysis – To identify the compounds in a mixture.

Quantitative analysis – To identify the proportions of the compounds in a mixture.

Chemical process analysisnuclear reactor (analysis of an isotope concentration in a nuclear reaction)

Difference Between Analysis and Synthesis

X-ray microscopy (XRM)

Some methods used in chemical analysis are Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), Atomic emission spectroscopy (AES), Atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (AFS), Alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS), ChromatographyColorimetry, Cyclic Voltammetry (CV), Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) also called Electron spin resonance (ESR), Flow injection analysis (FIA), Fourier transform spectroscopy (FTIR), Gas chromatography (GC), Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), High-performance liquid chromatography-IR spectroscopy (HPLC-IR), Inductively coupled plasma (ICP), Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), Mass spectrometry (MS), Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), Raman spectroscopy, Refractive index, Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA), X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), and X-ray microscopy (XRM).

What is Chemical Synthesis?

Synthesis in Chemistry is a series of reactions leading to form a new chemical compound using two or more chemical compounds as reactants. The final product in the process is a complicated one with respect to initial compounds.

The general form of a chemical synthesis reaction can be written as,

A + B -> AB

8 Fe + S8 -> 8 FeS

To synthesize a molecule, it may require a several number of reactions under controlled experimental conditions. The most difficult part of this process is to figure out the most feasible method that includes the least number of steps with a minimum cost, resulting a high yield.

Analysis vs Synthesis

What is the difference between Analysis and Synthesis?

• In synthesis, it starts with simple compounds and produces a complex chemical compound. But, in analysis, there is no such limitations; it can be either a simple compound or a complex one.

• In synthesis, several compounds together form one complex molecule whereas, in analysis, a complex molecule breaks into small units and we investigate them.

• Chemical synthesis produces a new compound. In chemical analysis, it provides an empirical basis details (ex: composition, proportions of atoms) to understand a particular chemical compound (ex: to derive chemical formula).

• For this reason, synthesis does the invention of new products while analysis does the exploration of invented products using analytical methods.


Analysis vs Synthesis

Analysis and synthesis are the most important operations in Experimental Chemistry. They are interdependent and equally important in many areas of modern Chemistry. Analysis and synthesis lead to inventing new chemical compounds. Chemists are so concerned with producing new compounds and finding alternative methods to synthesize existing chemical compounds. In this process, analysis helps to understand the chemical behavior of chemical compounds and synthesis helps to produce complex chemical compounds using simple molecules.


Images Courtesy:

  1. X ray Microscope via Wikicommons (Public Domain
  2. Chemical Analysis equipment by Hey Paul (CC BY 2.0)