02 1 / 2013

Stereoisomers and polarizing light

Chirality can be macroscopically seen by noticing that two isomers of a single molecule would polarize light in different directions. The image below shows a rough schematic of what that involves. 


As far as I know, all chiral stereoisomers of molecules will polarize light in a particular direction. This trait is also referred to as optical activity and a molecule that is chiral can be said to be optically active.

*first sentence changed due to cowledwizard's insight

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