Heterocycle Synthesis

Heterocycles play a very important role in nature and as well as in chemical synthesis. In nature, nitrogen-, oxygen- and sulfur containing heterocyclic molecules can be found in every living being. Lots of these molecules have a specific biological effect, smell or color and that’s the reason the modern chemical industry (dominantly pharmaceutical companies) is interested in producing these materials. There are two ways of producing these molecules. First with the help of nature using plants and animals to extract the already existing heterocycles. The second way is the total synthesis of these molecules from small organic or inorganic components. The number of heterocycles in the carbon atom is replaced with only the three elements mentioned above the permutations and combinations are numerous.

Synthesis of heterocyclic compounds in flow

The synthesis of heterocycles started in the early 1800’s. Nowadays there are many well known synthesis pathways for the most common heterocyclic compounds. Many of these reactions need elevated temperature, catalysis, acid- or base addition to form the desired product. In batch methods these reactions are not safe every time and the reaction scale always has a strong dependence of the vessel volume.

With ThalesNano’s reactors these reactions can be placed in a continuous system in which the pressure, temperature and residence time can be controlled precisely in a safe environment.

With these instruments such reactions can be performed, which are unable to be done with traditional batch equipment.

With ThalesNano’s IceCube™ Flow Reactor, the low temperature (-70 – 80 °C) allows for example Bartoli indole synthesis to be performed.

Ice Cube

Heterocylce Synthesis, IceCube
The H-Cube Pro™ can go higher with temperature and pressure (up to 150 °C and 100 bar) and with the catalyst filled cartridges the user can carry out many ring closure or rearrangement reactions, like lactone ring closure from diols or for example Larock indole synthesis.

H-Cube Pro

There are specific reactions that need even higher temperatures. For these cases ThalesNano invented the Phoenix Flow Reactor (up to 450 °C in liquid phase, SS loop or catalyst cartridge system) and VFP reactor (up to 1000 °C in vapour phase).


Heterocycle Synthesis, Phoenix Flow Reactor