Thursday, February 5, 2009

Enantiomorph

n. (from Greek enantios, “opposite”; morphe, “form”), also called Antimer, or Optical Antipode, either of a pair of objects related to each other as the right hand is to the left, that is, as mirror images that cannot be reoriented so as to appear identical. An object that has a plane of symmetry cannot be an enantiomorph because the object and its mirror image are identical. Molecular enantiomorphs, such as those of lactic acid, have identical chemical properties, except in their chemical reaction with other dissymmetric molecules and with polarized light. Enantiomorphs are important to crystallography because many crystals are arrangements of alternate right- and left-handed forms of a single molecule. A complete description of the crystal specifies how the forms are mixed with each other.

note: this word appears a number of times in The Extended Words (as does mirror), and in some manner works as a root metaphor for the imaginary dictionary, playing as a reflection to our "real" dictionaries.

[Above definition from online Britannica dictionary]

2 comments: