Issue 26, 2021

Flow electrochemistry: a safe tool for fluorine chemistry


The heightened activity of compounds containing fluorine, especially in the field of pharmaceuticals, provides major impetus for the development of new fluorination procedures. A scalable, versatile, and safe electrochemical fluorination protocol is conferred. The strategy proceeds through a transient (difluoroiodo)arene, generated by anodic oxidation of an iodoarene mediator. Even the isolation of iodine(III) difluorides was facile since electrolysis was performed in the absence of other reagents. A broad range of hypervalent iodine mediated reactions were achieved in high yields by coupling the electrolysis step with downstream reactions in flow, surpassing limitations of batch chemistry. (Difluoroiodo)arenes are toxic and suffer from chemical instability, so the uninterrupted generation and immediate use in flow is highly advantageous. High flow rates facilitated productivities of up to 834 mg h−1 with vastly reduced reaction times. Integration into a fully automated machine and in-line quenching was key in reducing the hazards surrounding the use of hydrofluoric acid.

Graphical abstract: Flow electrochemistry: a safe tool for fluorine chemistry

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Article information

Article type
Edge Article
15 Apr 2021
04 Jun 2021
First published
04 Jun 2021
This article is Open Access

All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry
Creative Commons BY license

Chem. Sci., 2021,12, 9053-9059

Flow electrochemistry: a safe tool for fluorine chemistry

B. Winterson, T. Rennigholtz and T. Wirth, Chem. Sci., 2021, 12, 9053 DOI: 10.1039/D1SC02123K

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