What is a cis or trans isomer?

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Cis-trans isomerism, also known as geometric isomerism or configurational isomerism, is a term used in organic chemistry. The Cis-trans isomers are stereoisomers, ie pairs of molecules that have the same formula but whose functional groups are rotated in a different orientation in three-dimensional space.

Cis-trans isomerism, also known as geometric isomerism or configurational isomerism, is a term used in organic chemistry. The prefixes “cis” and “trans” are from the Latin. In the context of chemistry, cis indicates that functional groups are on the same side of the carbon chain while trans are transmitting that functional groups are on opposite sides of the carbon chain.

The Cis-trans isomers are stereoisomers, ie pairs of molecules that have the same formula but whose functional groups are rotated in a different orientation in three-dimensional space. It should not be confused with the E-Z isomerism, which is an absolute stereo chemical description, and should only be used with alkenes.

In general, stereoisomers contain double bonds that can not rotate, or may contain ring structures, where the rotation of the bonds is limited or impeded. The cis and trans isomers occur both in organic molecules and inorganic coordination complexes. Cis and trans-descriptors are not used for cases of conformational isomers in which the two geometries are easily interconnected, like most open-chain single-chain structures; instead, the terms “syn” and “anti” would be used.

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