Why optically active molecules rotate light?

  • Thread starter Trave11er
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  • #1
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Say, we have a solution of pure form of R-alanine. Say, the molecule has it's COOH group directed along positive y-axis and rotates the z-polarized light clockwise - the question is why the same molecule with it's COOH group in negative y direction won't do the opposite.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
DrDu
Science Advisor
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Consider a simpler example, a helix. How does a helix look like when you rotate it by 180 deg?
An example of a chiral molecule with a helical structure are the helicenes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicene
 
  • #3
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Fascinating :). Thank you for the reply, DrDu.
 

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