I have been studying Optical Isomerism recently, and I have got one question, answer to which was not in the books that I have.

I have understood what the phenomenon is, and that, how one can determine whether the plane of polarised light is rotated, and how to tell from the structure whether the molecule will rotate the plane of polarised light or not.

However why does the phenomenon occur? If I go to the atomic level or the quantum mechanical level, it is surely a result of interaction of the polarised light with the electrons in the atomic orbitals and the molecular orbitals. Can anyone explain how this interaction occurs? That is, how is the plane of polarised light bent by the electron - photon interaction (if any)?


marked as duplicate by Mithoron, Community Dec 11 '17 at 18:14

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