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Specific Optical Rotation and its Applications

Specific Optical Rotation and its Applications

This module is to understand the basics of Specific Optical Rotation (SOR) and principle of polarimetry. It gives and an overview of the components and operation of a polarimeter.​


  • Introduction to optical rotation, chirality, enantiomers and plane polarized light​

  • Properties of chiral molecules and optical isomerism​

  • Rotation of plane polarized light and its measurement​

  • Polarimeter and its components including light source, polarizer, sample tube and analyzer​

  • Optical activity and specific optical rotation​

  • Factors impacting optical rotation​

  • Sources of error in measurement of SOR​

  • Calibration of polarimeter and temperature probe​

  • Racemization and its impact on measurement​

  • Operation of polarimeter and best practices while taking a measurement​

  • Why it matters

    Many pharmaceutical substances are optically active because of the presence of one or more asymmetric centers, usually a carbon atom with four different substituents, resulting in many isomers. Polarimetry is perhaps the only convenient means for distinguishing optically active isomers from each other. As such, it is an important identification and purity measurement for QC analysts. ​

  • Who is it for​ ​

    Personnel in production, analytical quality, including quality control and quality assurance who use this technique  should complete this module.​

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