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Anal Chem. 2006 Jul 15;78(14):4909-17.

Ionic liquid droplet as e-microreactor.

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Department of Technology for Biology and Health, CEA/LETI, 17 rue des Martyrs, 38054 Grenoble, France.


A powerful approach combining a droplet-based, open digital microfluidic lab-on-a-chip using task-specific ionic liquids as soluble supports to perform solution-phase synthesis is reported as a new tool for chemical applications. The negligible volatility of ionic liquids enables their use as stable droplet reactors on a chip surface under air. The concept was validated with different ionic liquids and with a multicomponent reaction. Indeed, we showed that different ionic liquids can be moved by electrowetting on dielectric (EWOD), and their displacement was compared with aqueous solutions. Furthermore, we showed that mixing ionic liquids droplets, each containing a different reagent, in "open" systems is an efficient way of carrying supported organic synthesis. This was applied to Grieco's tetrahydroquinolines synthesis with different reagents. Analysis of the final product was performed off-line and on-line, and the results were compared with those obtained in a conventional reaction flask. This technology opens the way to easy synthesis of minute amounts of compounds ad libitum without the use of complex, expensive, and bulky robots and allows complete automation of the process for embedded chemistry in a portable device. It offers several advantages, including simplicity of use, flexibility, and scalability, and appears to be complementary to conventional microfluidic lab-on-a-chip devices usually based on continuous-flow in microchannels.

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