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Finding the smallest ring in a molecule

Finding the smallest ring in a chemical structure is quite simple. First you have to convert the chemical structure (left) into a graph (right) using an arbitrary starting atom of the molecule, and finding all possible paths through the molecule.


Whenever you encounter the starting atom (red leaves of the graph) you have found a cyclic path whose length is corresponding to the ring length. In order to find the smallest ring you have to repeat this procedure with all atoms in the structure and search for the smallest cyclic path in all resulting graphs.

Last Update: 2012-Oct-20