Medical Term:

Le Bel-van't Hoff rule

Pronunciation: lĕ-bel′ vahnt-hof′

Definition: the number of stereoisomers of an organic compound is 2n, where n represents the number of asymmetric carbon atoms (unless there is an internal plane of symmetry); a corollary of Le Bel and van't Hoff's simultaneously announced conclusions, in 1874, that the most probable orientation of the bonds of a carbon atom linked to four groups or atoms is toward the apexes of a tetrahedron, and that this accounted for all then-known phenomena of molecular asymmetry (which involved a carbon atom bearing four different atoms or groups).

See Also: stereoisomerism

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