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In physics and chemistry, ionization energy (American English spelling) or ionisation energy (British English spelling), denoted Ei, is the minimum amount of energy required to remove the most loosely bound electron, the valence electron, of an isolated neutral gaseous atom or molecule.

The sciences of physics and chemistry use different measures of ionization energy. In physics, the unit is the amount of energy required to remove a single electron from a single atom or molecule, expressed as electronvolts. In chemistry, the unit is the amount of energy required for all of the atoms in a mole of substance to lose one electron each: molar ionization energy or enthalpy, expressed as kilojoules per mole (kJ/mol) or kilocalories per mole (kcal/mol).

Comparison of Ei of elements in the periodic table reveals two periodic trends:

Ei generally increases as one moves from left to right within a given period (that is, row).

Ei generally decreases as one moves from top to bottom in a given group (that is, column).

Enantiomers, also known as optical isomers, are two stereoisomers that are related to each other by a reflection: they are mirror images of each other that are non-superimposable. Human hands are a macroscopic analog of this. Every stereogenic center in one has the opposite configuration in the other. Two compounds that are enantiomers of each other have the same physical properties, except for the direction in which they rotate polarized light and how they interact with different optical isomers of other compounds. As a result, different enantiomers of a compound may have substantially different biological effects. Pure enantiomers also exhibit the phenomenon of optical activity and can be separated only with the use of a chiral agent. In nature, only one enantiomer of most chiral biological compounds, such as amino acids (except glycine, which is achiral), is present. An optically active compound shows two forms: D-(+) form and L-(−) form.

The reaction rate or rate of reaction is the speed at which reactants are converted into products. For example, the oxidative rusting of iron under Earth's atmosphere is a slow reaction that can take many years, but the combustion of cellulose in a fire is a reaction that takes place in fractions of a second. For most reactions, the rate decreases as the reaction proceeds.

Factors that influence the reaction rate are the nature of the reaction, concentration, pressure, reaction order, temperature, solvent, electromagnetic radiation, catalyst, isotopes, surface area, stirring, and diffusion limit. Some reactions are naturally faster than others. The number of reacting species, their physical state (the particles that form solids move much more slowly than those of gases or those in solution), the complexity of the reaction and other factors can greatly influence the rate of a reaction.

Reaction rate increases with concentration, as described by the rate law and explained by collision theory. As reactant concentration increases, the frequency of collision increases. The rate of gaseous reactions increases with pressure, which is, in fact, equivalent to an increase in the concentration of the gas. The reaction rate increases in the direction where there are fewer moles of gas and decreases in the reverse direction. For condensed-phase reactions, the pressure dependence is weak.

The order of the reaction controls how the reactant concentration (or pressure) affects reaction rate.

Usually conducting a reaction at a higher temperature delivers more energy into the system and increases the reaction rate by causing more collisions between particles, as explained by collision theory. However, the main reason that temperature increases the rate of reaction is that more of the colliding particles will have the necessary activation energy resulting in more successful collisions (when bonds are formed between reactants). The influence of temperature is described by the Arrhenius equation. For example, coal burns in a fireplace in the presence of oxygen, but it does not when it is stored at room temperature. The reaction is spontaneous at low and high temperatures but at room temperature, its rate is so slow that it is negligible.

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