Ozonolysis is the cleavage of an alkene or alkyne with ozone to form organic compounds in which the multiple carbon–carbon bond has been replaced by a double bond to oxygen. The outcome of the reaction depends on the type of multiple bond being oxidized and the workup conditions. The main products are alcohols, carbonyls, esters or carboxylic acids. However, ozonolysis can be used for other oxidative processes, such as the oxidation of amines to nitro groups.

Ozonolysis with the IceCube™ Reactor

Ozonolysis has a number of advantages over conventional oxidation methods, including:

  • Quicker reactions with improved yields
  • Cleaner reactions and less side products
  • Does not require addition of water


Ozonolysis in Industry

Ozonolysis has been used frequently in major drug syntheses such as (+)-Artemisinin, Indolizidine 251F, and D,L-Camptothecin and with fine chemical syntheses such as L-Isoxazolylalanine and Prostaglandin endoperoxides. So, if ozonolysis is faster and cleaner than other processes and used extensively in drug syntheses, then why is the technique avoided?

The main reason is the current technologies that are used to perform ozonolysis have inherent safety issues. The explosive ozonide is made in batch, where the temperature is difficult to control, so the possibilities of a runaway exotherm are increased. Additionally, there is no purpose-designed equipment at present that gives you complete control over the entire reaction process.

ThalesNano has developed the IceCube to overcome these disadvantages. When combined with the ozone module, ozonolysis can now be performed in a safe and controlled manner. Click here to visit the IceCube product page for more information.