Sunday 22 March 2009

Symmetry elements

Here is another awesome tool that I just saw in a Chemical Forums post. It lets you visualize symmetry elements and even animate the corresponding symmetry operations.

Let's take for example trisoxalato-iron(III). What symmetry elements does it have?

First there is a C3 axis that goes between the ligands. It goes through a face of the coordination octahedron.

Second there is a C2' axis perpendicular to the main axis. It goes through an edge of the octahedron.

There are no more symmetry elements, the complex is of D3 symmetry.


Echiral said...

Woah. That is pretty awesome.

Ψ*Ψ said...

That absolutely rocks! Fantastic for those of us who are 3D-visualization challenged. (For some reason, though, I find picking out symmetry ops pretty easy! it's asymmetry that hurts my head)

Felix said...

glad, you guys like it
it's just cool, also how many molecules they have

Lightnir said...

A friend of mine who is a crystallographer said once to me the the best way to explain symmetry elements to those who don't quite "see it" is to go with them to a pub/café and order some beer. Then while drinking it you could use the beer mugs and things that are lying on the table (cigarettes, cutlery, keys...) to build systems with different types of symmetry elements and show the symmetry operations by moving it. He said he quite often explained it to friends in this way. I wonder why... ];) Anyway. The animation feature makes it a really great tool.

Felix said...

yes, i think it's good to show symmetry elements in everyday objects. but you can only do proper rotations. or how do you show the mirror plane of a fork

SimonBennie said...

symmetry is the most amzing part of chemistry, most painful too.