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Tracking Catalytic Reactions in Microreactors

Infrared Technique at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source Could Help Improve Flow Reactor Chemistry for Pharmaceuticals and Other Products.

A pathway to more effective and efficient synthesis of pharmaceutical drugs and other flow reactor chemical products has been opened by a study in which for the first time the catalytic reactivity inside a microreactor was mapped in high resolution from start-to-finish.

Working at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), the team used tightly focused beams of infrared and x-ray light to track the evolution of a catalytic reaction with a spatial resolution of 15 microns. This research was led by chemists Dean Toste (left, with Elad Gross) and Gabor Somorjai, both of whom hold joint appointments with Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley. Somorjai is also a member of the Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute at Berkeley.

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