Microwave assisted organic synthesis

Microwave assisted organic synthesis 
J P Tierney and P Lidstr?m (eds) 
Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing | 2005 | 320pp | ?89.00 (HB) | ISBN 1405115602 
Reviewed by Stephen Caddick

The editors of this book have gathered a collection of expert practitioners in the area of microwave enhanced /assisted organic synthesis, each of whom have produced a series of chapters covering a variety of aspects of this burgeoning field.

Michael Mingos provides a short, but readable introduction to the fundamental principles of microwave dielectric heating. This is followed by chapters on microwave-accelerated metal catalysis and heterocyclic chemistry. The reader is then given an account of the use of microwave chemistry in the production of diverse chemical structures, with useful comparative comments on the relative merits associated with using microwave methods for reactions such as the Ugi and Biginelli.  

A chapter by Ian Baxendale and Steve Ley provides a good overview of the use of microwave-assisted synthesis and solid-supported reagents, particularly useful as it includes a perspective gained from collaboration with a wide range of industrial partners. 

This is followed by an excellent chapter from Alexander Stadler and Oliver Kappe on solid-phase synthesis, neatly covering all the key considerations and providing useful data on solvent dielectric heating and swelling behaviour, alongside comments on polymer support stability. 

The message here is that relatively slow (supported) reactions can benefit considerably from microwave acceleration and the combination of solid-supported chemistry and that microwave heating can exploit the benefits of both technologies.

Christopher Sarko discusses the potential time savings associated with microwave-assisted synthesis, and in the final chapter Brett Roberts and Chris Strauss put together a nice discussion on scale-up which is probably one of the most important technical developments for the future. 

The book would have benefited from a few more key experimental procedures (with pictures), an index of authors of cited papers and links to supplementary material on the internet. 

In terms of subject matter, chapters dedicated to palladium catalysis and solid-state reactions could have been included, but overall the balance of the book was good and I would recommend it to graduate level chemists, experimentalists in synthetic science and chemistry libraries.