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Answer to Question #19279 in Organic Chemistry for anahita

Question #19279
hello. I am a student in pure chemistry and I am in the third semester of chemistry would you please explain optical activity for me, and about the polarimeter too...??thank a million
Expert's answer
One of the physical properties of molecules that have asymmetric carbon atoms (like these four in the middle of glucose marked with *) is that the molecules will rotate the direction in which the light is vibrating as it passes through them. This property is called optical activity. A polarimeter is a scientific instrument used to measure the angle of rotation caused by passing polarized light through an optically active substance. Some chemical substances are optically active, and polarized (unidirectional) light will rotate either to the left (counter-clockwise) or right (clockwise) when passed through these substances.

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