Microwave-Assisted Hydrogenation Reactions at Moderate Temperatures and Pressures

Download File


Microwave irradiation is a powerful tool in organic synthesis due to its ability to speed up chemical reactions and increase product yields. Indeed, dedicated microwave synthesizers have found their way into mainstream organic synthesis for most types of reactions, with the exception of hydrogenations. Typically, hydrogenation reactions that utilize microwave irradiation proceed by way of a hydrogen transfer reaction or use a reagent that generates hydrogen gas in situ.1 This was the driving force for Dr. Grace Vanier to explore the ability to add hydrogen gas directly to the reaction mixture (Figure 1). Hydrogenations under microwave irradiation use power instead of high pressure (> 1000 PSI) to drive a chemical reaction to completion. This allows for conditions at moderate temperatures (50 – 80 ºC) and low pressures (50 – 200 psi) for a safer reaction without sacrificing high yields.