Raise Your Laboratory Testing Benchmark!

Optical Rotation Determinations

Table of Contents

What is Optical Rotation?

Optical rotation is a technique used to measure the rotation of polarized light as it passes through a sample. This technique is commonly used in chemistry and pharmaceuticals to determine the purity and identity of a substance.

How does it work?

When polarized light passes through a sample, the molecules in the sample rotate the plane of polarization. The amount of rotation is dependent on the concentration, temperature, and wavelength of the light. By measuring the angle of rotation, the concentration and purity of the sample can be determined.

Types of Optical Rotation Determinations

There are two types of optical rotation determinations: specific rotation and observed rotation. Specific rotation is the rotation of a pure substance at a specific temperature and wavelength, while observed rotation is the rotation of a sample in solution.

Instruments Used

The most common instrument used for optical rotation determinations is a polarimeter. A polarimeter consists of a light source, polarizer, sample cell, and analyzer. The sample cell is filled with the sample solution, and the analyzer measures the angle of rotation.


Optical rotation determinations are used in a variety of applications, including pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and chemical manufacturing. In pharmaceuticals, optical rotation is used to determine the purity and identity of active ingredients. In food and beverage, it is used to determine the concentration of sugars and other compounds. In chemical manufacturing, it is used to monitor the purity of raw materials and finished products.


Optical rotation determinations have some limitations, including the need for a pure sample and the sensitivity to temperature and wavelength. Additionally, some compounds do not rotate polarized light, making this technique ineffective for those substances.


Optical rotation determinations are a valuable tool in chemistry and pharmaceuticals for determining the purity and identity of a substance. While there are limitations to this technique, it remains an important analytical tool for many industries.

Share This!

Recently Added

The Importance of Regular Quality Control Product Testing: How Often is Ideal?

The Importance of Regular Quality Control Product Testing: How Often is Ideal?

Regular quality control product testing is a critical aspect of ensuring the overall quality and reliability of products. From electronics to pharmaceuticals, conducting frequent testing helps identify any potential issues or defects early on, preventing costly consequences down the line. But how often should companies perform these tests to strike the right balance between efficiency and effectiveness?

Read More »
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap