Through-wall mass transport as a modality for safe generation of singlet oxygen in continuous flows

Katherine S. Elvira, Robert C. R. Wootton, Nuno M. Reis, Malcolm R. Mackley, Andrew J. Demello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (SciVal)


Singlet oxygen, a reactive oxygen species, has been a basic synthetic tool in the laboratory for many years. It can be generated either through a chemical process or most commonly via a photochemical process mediated by a sensitizing dye. The relative paucity of singlet oxygen employment in fine chemical industrial settings can be attributed to many factors, not least the requirement for excessive quantities of oxygenated organic solvents and the dangers that these represent. Microcapillary films (MCFs) are comprised of multiple parallel channels embedded in a plastic film. In this study, MCFs are employed as flow reactor systems for the singlet oxygen mediated synthesis of ascaridole. No gaseous oxygen is supplied directly to the reaction, rather mass transport occurs exclusively through the reactor walls. The rate of production of ascaridole was found to be strongly dependent on the partial pressure of oxygen present within the reaction system. This methodology significantly simplifies reactor design, allows for increased safety of operation, and provides for space–time yields over 20 times larger than the corresponding bulk synthesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-213
JournalACS Sustainable Chemisty and Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2013


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