Potential Energy Diagrams for Multistep Reactions: The SN1 Mechanism (4.9) The energy picture is complete by combining the three separate diagrams into one that covers the entire process. The composite diagram of our example reaction above has three peaks and two valleys. Peaks: Transition states Valleys: reactive intermediates: Species formed in one step and consumed in the other. (tert-butyloxonium ion and tert-butyl cation) Rate-determining step: Slowest step on the diagram. *The SN mechanism is either 1 or 2. It will be SN1 if its slowest step is unimolecular and SN2 if its slowest step is bimolecular.*
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