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5: Stereochemistry at Tetrahedral Centers

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  • 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.

    Thumbnail: Two enantiomers of a generic amino acid that are chiral. (Public Domain; unknonw author via Wikipedia)

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