This chapter introduces the concept of chirality, and discusses the structure of compounds containing one or two chiral centers. A convenient method of representing the three-dimensional arrangement of the atoms in chiral compounds is explained; furthermore, throughout the chapter , considerable emphasis is placed on the use of molecular models to assist in the understanding of the phenomenon of chirality. The chapter continues with an examination of stereochemistry—the three-dimensional nature of molecules. The subject is introduced using the experimental observation that certain substances have the ability to rotate plane-polarized light. Finally, certain reactions of alkenes are re-examined in the light of the new material encountered in this chapter.
- 5.11: Prochirality
- When a tetrahedral carbon can be converted to a chiral center by changing only one of its attached groups, it is referred to as a ‘prochiral' center.
Thumbnail: Two enantiomers of a generic amino acid that are chiral. (Public Domain; unknonw author via Wikipedia)