Automation and microfluidic tools potentially enable efficient, fast, and focused reaction development of complex chemistries, while minimizing resource- and material consumption. The introduction of automation-assisted workflows will contribute to the more sustainable development and scale-up of new and improved catalytic technologies. Herein, the application of automation and microfluidics to the development of a complex asymmetric hydrogenation reaction is described. Screening and optimization experiments were performed using an automated microfluidic platform, which enabled a drastic reduction in the material consumption compared to conventional laboratory practices. A suitable catalytic system was identified from a library of RuII-diamino precatalysts. In situ precatalyst activation was studied with 1H/31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and the reaction was scaled up to multigram quantities in a batch autoclave. These reactions were monitored using an automated liquid-phase sampling system. Ultimately, in less than a week of total experimental time, multigram quantities of the target enantiopure alcohol product were provided by this automation-assisted approach.
- asymmetric catalysis
- homogeneous catalysis