The synthesis of molecules is essential in different areas such as energy and pharmaceutical. The classical approach for the molecular synthesis is the batch production. However, batch reactions present drawbacks related to mass and heat transport at both industrial and laboratory scales. To improve the transport phenomena in molecular synthesis, the “flow chemistry” have raised as a prominent alternative. Continuous flow synthesis offers advantages like fast mass and heat transfer, high reaction control (associated to laminar flow), ease purification of the products and high yields4. This small review will allow you to identify opportunities for molecular synthesis assisted by a digital syringe pump. This new and exciting approach may develop several electronic syringe pump applications, research and development empowered by these studies, and the opportunity to generate new products is a concomitant benefit in a breakthrough strategy.
Molecular Synthesis of Biofuels
In the area of energy, flow synthesis systems are used to produce biofuels. The implementation of microfluidic systems allows the synthesis of molecules at higher temperatures (above 40 °C) than in the heterogeneous catalytic transesterification batch reactors (60-200°C)3. The transesterification of vegetable oil at temperatures beyond 400°C ensure the volatilization of the reagents increasing the reaction rates, which results in a more efficient process.
Molecular Synthesis of Pharmaceuticals
In the case of pharmaceuticals, flow synthesis allows the development of interesting applications that have helped to overcome the challenges of the product itself. For example, the production of radioactive isotopes on demand. The radioactive tracers are used in medicine for diagnosis and therapy control, but due to its short life (less than two hours), batches are mandatory to fabricate multiple doses. Then the markers are transported generating time lost, however, with the microfluidic system the molecules can be produced when needed1.
Molecular Synthesis on Microarrays
Additionally, the flow chemistry approach is used in heterogeneous biological transformations to obtain high-value products. To this end, enzymes are immobilized to carry out the biotransformations in microarrays2. The use of microfluidic systems helps to enhance the mass transport, the surface to volume ratios and decrease the reagent volumes.
Molecular Synthesis of Smart Materials
Syringe pumps allow the synthesis of under pseudo-high dilution addition; the method allows the study and the fabrication of supramolecular structures5. Chemyx digital syringe pumps decrease the long reaction times and the modest yields making the production less challenging and affordable for research purposes.
The fluid flow in these molecular synthesis systems is key to obtain the expected results. Digital syringe pumps are the most commonly used in these systems because they provide an accurate, uniform and pulseless flow. Many applications arise from molecular synthesis studies, digital syringe pumps from Chemyx offer a straightforward platform to develop this studies practically and efficiently.
- Arima, V., Pascali, G., Lade, O., Kretschmer, H. R., Bernsdorf, I., Hammond, V., … Rinaldi, R. (2013). Radiochemistry on chip: towards dose-on-demand synthesis of PET radiopharmaceuticals. Lab on a Chip, 13(12), 2328. https://doi.org/10.1039/c3lc00055a
- Boehm, C. R., Freemont, P. S., & Ces, O. (2013). Design of a prototype flow microreactor for synthetic biology in vitro. Lab on a Chip, 13(17), 3426. https://doi.org/10.1039/c3lc50231g
- Boffito, D. C., Neagoe, C., Edake, M., Pastor-Ramirez, B., & Patience, G. S. (2014). Biofuel synthesis in a capillary fluidized bed. Catalysis Today, 237, 13–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2014.01.018
- Britton, J., & Jamison, T. F. (2017). The assembly and use of continuous flow systems for chemical synthesis. Nature Protocols, 12(11), 2423–2446. https://doi.org/10.1038/nprot.2017.102
- Price, T. L., Wessels, H. R., Slebodnick, C., & Gibson, H. W. (2017). High-Yielding Syntheses of Crown Ether-Based Pyridyl Cryptands. Journal of Organic Chemistry, 82(15), 8117–8122. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.joc.7b01389