Microfluidic Reductions

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Science  28 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5675, pp. 1207
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5675.1207c

Although most applications of microfluidics in chemistry have focused on separations and analysis, the high contact areas and potential for rapid mixing suggest advantages for synthesis as well, especially for cases where multiple phases must come into contact. Kobayashi et al. (p. 1305) have developed a microfluidic reactor for catalytic hydrogenations in which the organic phase is in contact with supported palladium catalyst particles immobilized on the glass sidewalls. At sufficiently high flow rates, hydrogen flows through the center of the channels, which greatly enhances the reaction rates. The reduction of double bonds, as well as deprotection reactions, could be completed quantitatively in 2 minutes.

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