Walden inversion

noun

Wal·​den inversion
ˈwȯldən-
: 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)

Word History

Etymology

after Paul Walden †1957 Latvian organic chemist

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Cite this Entry

“Walden inversion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Walden%20inversion. Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

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