Flow chemistry doesn't immediately spring to mind alongside the word Africa, but the marketing team at technology company Syriss, Royston, UK, hope to change that
Flow chemistry doesn’t immediately spring to mind alongside the word Africa, but the marketing team at technology company Syriss, Royston, UK, hope to change that.
Syrris, established in 2001, has entered into an agreement with Steven Ley, professor of organic chemistry at the University of Cambridge, UK, to develop its automated flow reaction incubation and control apparatus (Africa).
Africa is a flow microreactor designed to help chemists accelerate compound synthesis and reaction optimisation. Having named it Africa, the marketing team encourage newcomers to think of it as a series of trains on a track.
’One way to imagine how the Africa microreactor works is to think of each reaction as a "train" running down the microchannel "track" inside the microreactor,’ explains the team. ’Each train is assembled from a number of carriages of starting materials, which diffuse together and react as the train moves along the track.’ Parameters such as reaction time, temperature and stoichiometry can be changed in real time and reactions can be run and analysed overnight.
The system is already used for standard reactions, such as condensations, ring formation, esterifications and deprotections. Ley plans to use it to carry out a programme of multi-step synthesis work. ’We’ve already demonstrated that flow is well suited for combining homogeneous reactions with the use of immobilised reagents, and that we get the benefits of fast optimisation and small scale,’ he said.