Chiral Center

Chiral Center, chiral atom, chirality center, or center of chirality is a tetrahedral atom in a molecule bearing four different ligands, with lone pairs, if any, treated as ligands.

eg. 1:

eg. 2:

eg. 3:

If a chiral center is a carbon atom, it can also be called an asymmetric carbon atom.  Thus, in eg. 1 the chiral center is an asymmetric carbon atom.

The term stereocenter, also called stereogenic center, is often used synonymously with the term chiral center.  However, the term stereocenter has a different definition, according to which all chiral centers are stereocenters but not all streocenters are chiral centers.

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