Volume 95 Issue 46 | pp. 16-18
Issue Date: November 20, 2017

Microdroplets rev up chemical reactions

Nearly every reaction tried so far runs faster in droplets than in bulk
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: Synthesis, electrospray, mass spectrometry, acceleration

Electrospray ionization (ESI) is best known as a way to introduce chemical compounds and mixtures into mass spectrometers. The machines apply a voltage to a stream of liquid containing a sample, creating an aerosol of charged, microsized droplets that then fly into the detector for analysis.

But what ESI might one day be just as well-known for is as a tool to accelerate chemical reactions, enabling scientists to test out catalysts, reagents, and conditions faster . . .

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