Synthesis by sunlight

Emma Eley writes about a HOT Green Chemistry article for Chemistry World

Sustainable oxidation reactions can be performed with inexpensive and readily available photovoltaic cells

Scientists in the US are calling upon the synthetic organic chemistry community to stop ignoring electrochemistry and have shown the two fields can work together to perform more sustainable reactions. And, to make the union even greener, it’s all powered by sunlight.

When a compound is oxidised, another one is reduced. In electrochemical oxidations, chemoselectivity is based solely on the oxidation potential of the functional groups in solution. Chemical oxidants, on the other hand, can be designed to select for a particular functional group based on criteria like steric effects or chirality. But the metal oxidant often required for chemical redox reactions ultimately results in reagent waste.

Now, Kevin Moeller and his team at Washington University in St Louis, have shown that electrochemistry can be used to conduct chemical oxidations that consume only sunlight and produce only hydrogen as a reduction product…


Read the full article in Chemistry World»

Read the original journal article in Green Chemistry:
Sunlight, electrochemistry, and sustainable oxidation reactions
Bichlien H. Nguyen, Alison Redden and Kevin D. Moeller  
Green Chem., 2013, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C3GC41650J

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