Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

Chiral Center

  • Page ID
  • Chiral Center, chiral atom, chirality center, or center of chirality is a tetrahedral atom in a molecule bearing four different ligands, with lone pairs, if any, treated as ligands.

    eg. 1:




    eg. 2:




    eg. 3:




    If a chiral center is a carbon atom, it can also be called an asymmetric carbon atom.  Thus, in eg. 1 the chiral center is an asymmetric carbon atom.

    The term stereocenter, also called stereogenic center, is often used synonymously with the term chiral center.  However, the term stereocenter has a different definition, according to which all chiral centers are stereocenters but not all streocenters are chiral centers.