The Application of Microwave Technology to Glaser-Hay Couplings

Hi everyone! My name is Sanjana Verma and I’m a rising senior (wow, it feels weird to type that) at the College. I’m from Northern VA (…who isn’t?), more specifically around the Chantilly/Centreville area, which is about 30-45min away from D.C. I’m a Biological Sciences major and a Religious Studies minor, and hope to be a doctor one day. I’m a student in Dr. Young’s lab and am really excited for this summer and what it may bring! Now a little bit about what I’ve done/plan to do…

Microwave chemistry has high efficiency of heating, which reduces the amount of energy needed to run the reaction, thereby limiting its carbon footprint. The low energy, non-ionizing radiation emitted by microwaves only heats the desired material, not the entire room, with no harmful greenhouse gas emissions. As a direct result, using microwaves diminishes the huge environmental heat loss that occurs through heating by convection. Microwaves also produce a higher product yield by allowing product temperature to be easily and precisely regulated. In turn, they significantly reduce the amount of waste created from potentially toxic starting material. They also have a low operating cost and result in long term cost savings due to their high efficiency. Furthermore, microwaves are a great design for energy efficiency because they allow for less amounts of harsh acids for de-protection protocols, smaller amounts of harmful metal catalysts, and significantly less solvent for reactions, thereby decreasing the amount of hazardous material that needs to be incinerated.

My proposed project would demonstrate the benefits of microwaves listed above with the Glaser-Hay reaction. This reaction occurs by means of a copper mediated coupling of terminal alkynes (see figure to the right) and is important to synthesize a number of natural products with antimicrobial properties. Current reaction conditions involve overnight heating in an oil bath on a hot plate (16-18 hours) at 60 oC. I would like to vary the temperature and reaction time through microwave settings and compare results to the standard thermal reaction conditions. Doing so will help determine the optimal conditions to obtain the highest yield of product with microwave chemistry. By utilizing this technology for the Glaser-Hay reaction, reaction time is predicted to be tremendously decreased, and amount of solvent and catalysts will be significantly reduced. This research will not only lead to a decreased environmental impact of the chemistry, but also be able to be translated as a new means for conducting this reaction and ultimately lead to the production of antibacterial agents in an environmentally friendly fashion.

Thanks for reading!