The desire to gain major improvements in product quality, yield, synthetic route, cycle time and safety in chemical processes have become key driving factors for chemists and engineers working in the chemical development and manufacturing environment in the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries. In order to achieve these goals, scientists are actively seeking alternative chemical development methods such as modern continuous flow reactor technologies. These technologies provide the opportunity to address many of these issues as they allow for rapid testing, optimization, and scaling of chemical sequences, many of which are unsafe for batch operations.
One of the most convenient and nondestructive methods for real-time inline monitoring is mid-infrared (IR) spectroscopy. Not only does the mid-IR spectroscopy technique allow the formation of products and reactive intermediates to be monitored in real time but immediate reaction feedback on the effect of changing a process parameter (flow rate, reaction temperature, stoichiometry etc.) is also possible, which results in an improved understanding and faster optimization of the flow process.
A new white paper – Enhanced Development and Control of Continuous Processes – discusses how this approach has been successfully used to monitor product streams and dispersion effects in a continuous flow reactor, and then use that information to successfully perform a multi-step synthesis, where a third reagent stream is stoichiometrically controlled based on the output of the first part of the reaction.