The best way to do a reaction could be easier to work out thanks to a microreactor developed by a team of US and Swiss scientists.

Finding the best conditions for a reaction is an important consideration for organic chemists. Unfortunately this process takes up a lot of time and starting materials. Being able to discover the ideal conditions faster and more efficiently will impact on the speed that organic chemistry will develop in the future.



Peter Seeberger and co-workers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, and ETH Honggerberg, Switzerland, made a silicon-glass based microreactor. By systematically studying a challenging organic transformation they were able rapidly to obtain comprehensive information about different reaction conditions. The microreactor’s advantages were clear to see, as 44 reactions were run in one afternoon, using just two milligrams of starting material for each run.

Seeberger believes that by combining the microreactor with online detection and screening, the whole process could be automated in future.

Meriel Dyche