LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Hexahelicene. Molecular model of the hydrocarbon hexahelicene (formula: C26H16). The atoms are spherical and colour-coded: carbon (blue) and hydrogen (white). Hexahelicene is made of six linked benzene rings. The rings are planar, but space restrictions (steric hindrance) between the end rings mean the molecule takes a helical shape, making it chiral. Chirality is a property of a molecule with a non-superimposeable mirror image. This molecule spirals anti-clockwise seen from above; the other chiral form would spiral clockwise. This is an important concept in chemistry, especially in drug design, as the two forms often have very different effects.
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