The chapter on Enantiomers comes from the module of Molecule and is classified under the subject of Chemistry. It deals with the compound elements with formulas. Stereoisomers are molecules with the same geometrical arrangement and have the same connectivity. Enantiomers are one of the two groups of stereoisomers. The first group is diastereomers. They are compounds that are not mirrored and are completely symmetrical.
The word ‘stereo’ means “three-dimensionality”. Stereochemistry is the study of how a molecule is affected due to the orientation of its atoms in space. An important part of stereochemistry is stereoisomerism, which deals with chemical compounds having the same molecular formula and different 3D spatial arrangement. Stereoisomers can be broadly classified into enantiomers and diastereomers.
The ability of a molecule to rotate plane-polarized light is known as optical activity and the molecules that are capable of doing so are said to be optically active.
An equimolar mixture of dextrorotatory and levorotatory compounds, i.e., 50% Dextro and 50% Levo is called a racemic mixture.
A carbon atom, which is directly attached to four distinct groups, is called a chiral carbon or a chiral centre
It is the ability to place one object over another, in such a way that the objects are visible clearly, which is known as superimposable.
Technically, enantiomers are a pair that have non-superimposable – meaning it shows differences when it is mirrored – molecules. Enantiomers have the same chemicals but are different in appearance in terms of symmetry.
Enantiomers are explained by the example of hands: the left hand and the right hand are not symmetrical when placed on top of each other from the back of the hands, but are mirror images when the palms are connected to each other.
In the same way, enantiomers are a pair of molecular compounds called enantiomorphs that are not symmetrical when placed on top of each other or overlapped but are symmetrical when placed side by side.
Properties of Enantiomers
Enantiomers are famous for their distinctive characteristic, which is the reflective symmetry of the molecules it contains. It has different spatial configurations and can be mirrored. That means that if you flip the image of an enantiomer, you will get a mirrored view. Each mirrored molecule is called an enantiomorph.
Enantiomers have at least one chiral centre. This centre is the factor on which the geometry of the enantiomorph differs.
Enantiomers have identical physical properties.
Enantiomers have identical chemical properties.
Enantiomers have an identical attachment to atoms.
They bend light in opposite directions.
Enantiomers are unique molecules with unique spatial configurations.
They cannot be rotated or tilted in any way so that they are the same.