Machine-Assisted Synthesis of Luminescent Complexes

Machine-Assisted Synthesis of Luminescent Complexes

Author: Robert Hughes

In recent years, the use of machine-assisted synthesis has helped to streamline the discovery of organic compounds such as pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and fragrances. Robotically controlled microwave- and continuous flow-setups have led to systems that can operate unmanned 24 hours a day and deliver results to human operators.

Simon J. A. Pope, Duncan L. Browne, Cardiff University, UK, and colleagues have applied these machine-assisted techniques to the discovery of complexes with tunable luminescent properties. The team wanted to demonstrate the applicability of a modular flow/microwave system for the synthesis of a novel series of ligands and the subsequent microwave-driven assembly of Ir(III) complexes.

A series of fluorinated pyrazole ligands were synthesized and then further reacted to form iridium pyrazole complexes [Ir(ppz)2(bipy)]BF4 (bipy = 2,2′-bipyridine). Isolation of spectroscopically pure species was carried out in less than one hour under microwave irradiationstarting from IrCl3. The resulting materials show tunable luminescent properties. The researchers hope that a second-generation system will be able to carry out both ligand synthesis and complex formation in one machine, including the automated screening of the luminescence properties.


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