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Process Chemistry

Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Diazo rainbow

by Manny Morone
July 18, 2019

A roll of tubing that's part of a flow reactor shows several different colors among its coils reflecting five different reactions happening simultaneously.
Credit: Eric Levesque

What you’re looking at is not one, but five reactions running through the same flow reactor. While studying at the Université de Montréal in the lab of André B. Charette, Eric Levesque designed continuous-flow-synthesis systems similar to this one. This work focused on making diazo compounds, which are synthetically useful yet hard-to-handle molecules. Because flow reactions bring only small amounts of starting materials into contact at once, they have the potential to be safer and thus can be scaled up for industry. Each color of hosing in this flow reactor represents a different reaction product being made sequentially in the tubing (Ph is phenyl):

PhC(N2)CO2C2H5 (yellow)

PhC(N2)CF3 (light orange)

PhC(N2)H (dark orange)

((4-CH3)Ph)C(N2)H (light pink)

Ph2CN2 (dark pink).

Submitted by Eric Levesque. Read the paper: Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2017, 10.1002/anie.201608444.

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