What is the difference between:

  1. Meso compound and an optically inactive compound

  2. Chiral compound and an optically active compound

For all examples i have seen, chiral compounds were optically active and meso were optically inactive so is there any difference between them?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Meso is only a subtype of optically inactive compounds and chirality doesn't guarantee noticeable optical activity. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jan 9 at 19:52
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "A meso compound is an optically inactive member of a set of stereoisomers, at least two of which are optically active." See: The Meaning of Meso", J. Chem. Educ., 2008, 85, 441. $\endgroup$ – user55119 Jan 9 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ What was the reason behind all these downvotes?? $\endgroup$ – HSB Jan 10 at 20:03

Meso compounds have a chiral centre , but they also have a plane of symmetry making them optically inactive....or u can say meso compounds are optically inactive due to internal compensation.

Whereas enantiomers taken together ie. formation of racemic mixture (50:50) is optically inactive as a whole due to external compensation.(They can be optically active individually)

Therefore chirality isn't the only defination for the optical activity of a compound, there are reasons such as symmetry to account for as well.

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