Traditional synthetic chemistry is carried out by hand using flasks and other glassware. However, in situations where the product is extremely sensitive to the reaction conditions, minor point-to-point variations in temperature and chemical composition can lead to big variations in the final product. Improved product quality can often be achieved by using flow reactors, in which chemical reactions take place in a network of narrow channels. Key advantages include the ability to rapidly mix reagents and adjust temperatures and the ability to automate the full chemical procedure, eliminating human error. This is particularly important for the development of functional materials where even slight changes in the reaction conditions can lead to huge changes in the properties of the final materials.

Our main synthetic expertise lies in the synthesis of electronic materials, and we collaborate with many international companies and research groups to develop better materials and production methods.

Some of our current activities include:

  • Highly controlled flow-based procedures for synthesising nanomaterials and electronic materials;
  • High performance flow components for chemical processing;
  • Development of real-time analyis tools for monitoring product quaity in-line; and
  • Large scale manufacturing methods for the high volume production of advanced materials

Flow chemistry in action

Flow synthesis of P3HT using segmented flow. Close-up of an addition reaction in a three-phase droplet reactor.
Flow synthesis of P3HT using segmented flow.
Close-up of a droplet generator handling three input streams.

Currently working in this area:

Elisabeth Koninx

Elisabeth Koninx

Elisabeth Koninx

Jack Herrington

Jack Herrington

Jack Herrington

James Bannock

JHB

James Bannock

John de Mello

JDM

John de Mello

Wenmin Xu

WX

Wenmin Xu