optical activity

2 ENTRIES FOUND:

optical activity

noun

Definition of OPTICAL ACTIVITY

:  ability of a chemical substance to rotate the plane of vibration of polarized light to the right or left

First Known Use of OPTICAL ACTIVITY

1877

optical activity

noun    (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of OPTICAL ACTIVITY

: ability of a chemical substance to rotate the plane of vibration of polarized light to the right or left

optical activity

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Ability of a substance to rotate the plane of polarization of a beam of light passed through it, either as crystals or in solution. Clockwise rotation as one faces the light source is “positive,” or dextrorotary; counterclockwise rotation “negative,” or levorotary. Louis Pasteur was the first to recognize that molecules with optical activity are stereoisomers (see isomerism). Optical isomers occur in pairs that are nonsuperimposable mirror images of one another. They have the same physical properties except for their effect on polarized light; in chemical properties they differ only in their interactions with other stereoisomers (see asymmetric synthesis).

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