How is molecular chirality assigned?

1 Answer
Apr 3, 2017

Of course it depends on the orientation of the molecule.


Look at your left hand and your right hand. One is the mirror image of the other (interestingly, your fingerprints are distinct on each hand, and share no necessary relationship). Given a chiral centre, which is typically #CR_1R_2R_3R_4#, the exchange of ANY two carbon substituents, #R_2# for #R_1#, #R_3# for #R_4#, etc. results in the enantiomer. Exchange again (it need not be the 2 original substitutents!), and you get the mirror image of a mirror image, i.e. the original structure.

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