A new way to gather chemical information quickly and cheaply has been developed by UK chemists
Andrew de Mello and colleagues at Imperial College London used a chip-based reactor with an on-line Raman spectroscopic detector to monitor a model reaction.
By following the catalytic oxidation of isopropyl alcohol to acetone, the researchers discovered that their reactor-analyser system has many advantages over traditional methods.
Reactions are rapid and many small reactors can be used simultaneously to generate large amounts of material if more is needed. This avoids potential safety problems and concerns about yield that are normally associated with increasing the size of reactions.
Raman spectroscopy allows instantaneous analysis while the reaction is ongoing. This sensitive technique provides structural information about the products throughout the reaction.
Other advantages of the system are that changes to the setup can be made quickly with minimum user intervention and the costs are kept down by using small quantities of material.