What are the differences between enantiomers, diastereomers, and meso compounds?

1 Answer
Dec 19, 2015

To understand the differences between enantiomers and diastereomers you need to be able to identify the chiral centers in the molecules then figure out the R / S configuration in each one.

Once you have determined the R / S you'll want to compare molecule A with B.


Enantiomers all chiral centers change. For example, if the two chiral centers in molecule A are (S,S) in molecule B the chiral centers would be (R,R).

Diastereomers at least one of the chiral centers change configuration. For example, if molecule A has chiral centers (R,S) in molecule B there would be a configuration of (S,S).

Meso compounds are compounds that have a superimposable mirror image. Given this they must have at least two chiral centers and a center plane of symmetry.