Controlled photocatalytic aerobic oxidation of thiols to disulfides in an energy efficient photomicroreactor

Y. Su, A. Talla, V. Hessel, T. Noel

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The photocatalytic aerobic oxidation of thiols to disulfides was investigated in a photomicroreactor. The importance of the base in this protocol is convincingly shown as it allows to activate the photocatalyst and to facilitate a proton coupled electron transfer. Based on these observations, a mechanism was postulated for the photocatalytic aerobic oxidation. Next, the photon / energy efficiency of the photomicroreactor is described. The use of a smaller diameter capillary provides higher yields and improved mass transfer characteristics. By varying the power supply, the effect of the photon flux on the yield of the photocatalytic process could be demonstrated. The effective photoelectric transformation efficiency was rather low (= 0.11), which indicated that sufficient cooling is required to dissipate non-productive energy. Under optimal reaction conditions, the photonic efficiency reached 0.66, which is a substantial increase compared to batch reactors and other photomicroreactors. This could be attributed to the similar dimensions of the capillary photomicroreactor and the LED light source, which minimizes energy losses due to unfocused light irradiation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1733-1742
JournalChemical Engineering & Technology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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