Definition of Walden inversion
: an inversion of configuration of one optically active compound into another that may or may not lead to a change in the direction of optical rotation and that may be of either of two general types: a : inversion involving two reactions in which an optically active compound is changed to another by substitution at its asymmetric center and then regenerated (as dextro-alanine is changed to levo-bromo-propionic acid by nitrosyl bromide and then to levo-alanine by ammonia) but as the optical isomer of the original compound b : inversion involving one reaction of an optically active compound at its asymmetric center with resulting configurational change from d to l or vice versa regardless of change in optical rotation (as from levorotatory l -bromo-propionic acid to levorotatory d -alanine by ammonia but not from dextrorotatory l -alanine to levorotatory l -bromo-propionic acid because no inversion of configuration occurs although optical inversion does)
Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.
Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:
- More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
- Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
- Advanced search features
- Ad free!
Origin and Etymology of walden inversion
after Paul Walden †1957 Latvian organic chemist
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up Walden inversion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).