Chemical reactions at the surface of water

Continuous photochemical reactions at the oil-water interface. Credit: Burkhard König, University of Regensburg

By forming chemical bonds between atoms, complex molecules such as drugs, crop protection products, or high-performance materials are produced using synthetic chemistry. Such synthesis reactions typically require organic solvents, metal catalysts, and reagents such as acids or alkalis. Not all support materials and solvents can always be recycled, resulting in waste.

Researchers at the University of Regensburg, led by Professor Dr. Burkhard König of the Institute of Organic Chemistry, are now proposing a completely different synthesis method. : Reacting molecules are attached to the water surface, where they form a thin film. Irradiation with violet light catalyzes a reaction that binds both reaction partners.

The new method exploits the formation of a film of water-insoluble organic molecules on the water surface (like an oil film on a puddle) to create ideal conditions for activation by light. The breadth of application of the technology was demonstrated in more than 160 examples, including the synthesis of drug precursors.

Reaction to light Now allows Without the use of or other reactive additives. This makes the production of chemical products more efficient and environmentally friendly. Now the results are out. published I science.

This project has been running for almost two years. During this time a number of experiments were conducted to further develop and confirm the main discovery. Transferring the reaction to a flow reactor was a breakthrough, as the synthesis could be carried out continuously and large quantities of products were accessible. Spectroscopic measurements provided insight into the molecular mechanism of the reaction.

In subsequent work, the synthesis technology will now be applied to other reactions to achieve the widest range of applications in the production of chemical products.

More information:
Ya-Ming Tian et al., Rapid Photochemical Reactions at the Oil-Water Interface Exploiting Melting Point Depression, science (2024). DOI: 10.1126/science.adl3092

Provided by Universität Regensburg

Reference: New synthesis method uses light reaction on water surface (2024, February 16) Retrieved February 17, 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-02-synthesis-method-reaction-surface.html Obtained

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