If an organic compound has only one asymmetric carbon in it, is it an Optically Active compound for sure?

Similarly, If an organic compound has No asymmetric Carbon atom in it, then is it Optically Inactive for sure?

(without considering any other specification of its structure in both the queries.)



1 Answer 1


If we limit ourselves to hydrocarbons there are 1,3-disubstituted allenes. Build a molecular model of any such compound, and you see that no single carbon atom is asymmetrically bonded yet you can't rotate the molecule to match its mirror image, or find any mirror planes. Ypu find that even if both substituents are the same like 1,3-dimethylallene. You have a chiral molecule with no chiral center.

A molecule with just one chiral center will be chiral, but with two they could have mirror image configurations so that a mirror plane passes between the chiral centers. See here.


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