Figure 1: The SN2 reaction mechanism. | Nature

Figure 1: The SN2 reaction mechanism.

From: The fingerprints of reaction mechanisms

Figure 1

Substitution reactions in which group X, attached to a carbon atom, is replaced by group Y (introduced as the ion Y), can occur through the SN2 mechanism. The reactant Y approaches the organic reactant on the side of the carbon atom that is opposite to X, and passes through a transition state in which the C–Y bond is partly formed and the C–X bond is partly broken. The three substituents (here, hydrogen atoms) on the carbon atom that are not directly involved in the reaction undergo a geometrical inversion, similar to an umbrella turning inside out.

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