Organic and Inorganic Chemistry Lesson of the Day – Chirality and Enantiomers
June 24, 2014 Leave a comment
In chemistry, chirality is a property of a molecule such that the molecule has a non-superimposable mirror image. In other words, a molecule is chiral if, upon reflection by any plane, it cannot be superimposed onto itself.
Chirality is a property of the 3-dimensional orientation of a molecule, and molecules exhibiting chirality are stereoisomers. Specifically, two molecules are enantiomers of each other if they are non-superimposable mirror images of each other. In organic chemistry, chirality commonly arises out of an asymmetric carbon atom, which is a carbon that is attached to 4 different substituents. Chirality in inorganic chemistry is more complicated, and I will discuss this in a later lesson.
It is important to note that enantiomers are defined as pairs. This will be later emphasized in the lesson on diastereomers.