Organometallic Chemistry is the examination of the structures and properties of chemical substances which contain covalent-character bonds between carbon and a metal. Thus, although it falls under the discipline of Organic Chemistry, it does not stand apart from the concepts and principles of Inorganic Chemistry.
In terms of nomenclature, the subset of organometallic compounds can be distinguished from other compounds by the prefix ‘organo’ such as organomagnesium or organolithium. These compounds can thus be written as follows:
R is the carbon-based substituent
M is the metal that is bounded
One of the most important aspects of organometallics is the bonding between the metal and the carbon. It is one of the only bonds which lies in between an ionic and covalent bond; hence the term ‘covalent character.’ Possessing this particular bond gives rise to certain set of unique properties – it makes the compound stable in solution, while still volatile enough to undergo reactions.
One of the most important reactions in Organometallic Chemistry is the Grignard Reaction of organomagnesium, which adds an alkylmagnesium halide to a carbonyl group in order to form a carbon-carbon bond and an alcohol. Such a reaction, and by extension the study of Organometallics, has been extremely useful in the organic synthesis of many carbon-based compounds.