Volume 88 Issue 37 | p. 26 | Concentrates
Issue Date: September 13, 2010

Flash Of Phosphorus Chemistry Innovation

Chlorine-free strategy for making organophosphorus compounds takes advantage of UV light
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: photochemistry, phosphorus, phosphine, organic chemistry

With ultraviolet light, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed another potential industrial route to organophosphorus compounds that avoids toxic, tough-to-handle chlorine. Phosphorus atoms abound in pesticides, fertilizers, and more. But to make these compounds from naturally available white phosphorus, P4, researchers have typically resorted to treating P4 with chlorine gas to make PCl3, and then reacting PCl3 with organic molecules. Daniel Tofan and Christopher C. Cummins have now used a photochemical approach . . .

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