What is the kinetic isotope effect

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Area of ​​Expertise - Reaction kinetics, physics

To investigate reaction mechanisms (reaction mechanism) one makes use of the fact that an isotope substitution (e.g. deuterium or tritium instead of hydrogen) has a measurable effect on the reaction rate, but not on the reactivity. This fact is called the kinetic isotope effect.

A distinction is made between the primary isotope effect, in which an atom is exchanged for its isotope, and the secondary isotope effect, in which an atom in the vicinity of the reacting group is substituted.

Deuterium or tritium are the most frequently used isotopes because they show a maximum mass difference, are easily available, can easily replace hydrogen in syntheses, and are analytically detectable.

See also: kinetic analysis, isotope effect

Learning units in which the term is dealt with

Clarification of reaction mechanisms (overall)100 min.

chemistryOrganic chemistryReaction mechanisms

This learning unit deals with the principles and methods for elucidating the reaction mechanisms of organic reactions. The subject areas: identification of the products and intermediate products, isotope labeling experiments, stereochemical studies, kinetic isotope effects, crossover experiments and studies of the reaction kinetics.