Batch versus flow photochemistry: A revealing comparison of yield and productivity

Luke D. Elliott, Jonathan P. Knowles, Paul J. Koovits, Katie G. Maskill, Michael J Robertson-Ralph, Guillaume Lejeune, Lee J. Edwards, Richard I. Robinson, Ian R. Clemens, Brian Cox, David D. Pascoe, Guido Koch, Martin Eberle, Malcolm B. Berry, Kevin I. Booker-Milburn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

123 Citations (Scopus)


The use of flow photochemistry and its apparent superiority over batch has been reported by a number of groups in recent years. To rigorously determine whether flow does indeed have an advantage over batch, a broad range of synthetic photochemical transformations were optimized in both reactor modes and their yields and productivities compared. Surprisingly, yields were essentially identical in all comparative cases. Even more revealing was the observation that the productivity of flow reactors varied very little to that of their batch counterparts when the key reaction parameters were matched. Those with a single layer of fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) had an average productivity 20% lower than that of batch, whereas three-layer reactors were 20% more productive. Finally, the utility of flow chemistry was demonstrated in the scale-up of the ringopening reaction of a potentially explosive [1.1.1] propellane with butane-2,3-dione.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15226-15232
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2014

Structured keywords

  • BCS and TECS CDTs


  • Batch reactors
  • Cycloaddition
  • Flow photochemistry
  • Rearrangement
  • Scale-up

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