The SN1 reaction takes place in two steps:
An example reaction:
This gives the overall reaction:
SN1 occurs where the central carbon atom is surrounded by bulky groups. The rate depends only on the concentration of the substrate.
Nucleophilicity is irrelevant in the determining step's rate, in which only the substrate is crucial.
Because the intermediate cation, R+, is planar, an optically active[?] substrate gives a racemic mixture because nucleophilic attack[?] can occur from either side.
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