Definitions for optical rotatory dispersion
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optical rotatory dispersion(Noun)
the variation in the optical rotation of a substance with the wavelength of light
Optical rotatory dispersion
Optical rotatory dispersion is the variation in the optical rotation of a substance with a change in the wavelength of light. Optical rotatory dispersion can be used to find the absolute configuration of metal complexes. For example, when plane-polarized white light from an overhead projector is passed through a cylinder of sucrose solution, a spiral rainbow is observed perpendicular to the cylinder. When white light passes through a polarizer, the extent of rotation of light depends on its wavelength. Short wavelengths are rotated more than longer wavelengths. Because the wavelength of light determines its color, the variation of color with distance through the tube is observed. This dependence of specific rotation on wavelength is called optical rotatory dispersion. In all materials the rotation varies with wavelength. The variation is caused by two quite different phenomena. The first accounts in most cases for the majority of the variation in rotation and should not strictly be termed rotatory dispersion. It depends on the fact that optical activity is actually circular birefringence. In other words, a substance which is optically active transmits right circularly polarized light with a different velocity from left circularly polarized light.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
Optical Rotatory Dispersion
The method of measuring the dispersion of an optically active molecule to determine the relative magnitude of right- or left-handed components and sometimes structural features of the molecule.
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