Research in the Browne Lab - is focused on the design and development of new concepts in organic synthesis with specific emphasis on the incorporation of appropriate enabling tools and technologies to deliver efficient synthetic processes. Many of the principles of Green Chemistry and Sustainability can be met by embracing new technologies that are inherently cleaner when compared to the current status quo. By designing new synthetic methods that take full advantage of the capabilities of different enabling technologies one will end up automatically with greener, cleaner processes. Part of our goal is to explore what the true capabilities of these methods are, both as individual tools and as more complex hybrid designs.
Continuous Flow Chemistry
An optimised continuous flow process can provide chemicals 'on-demand' with excellent reproducibility. We are currently developing multistep or telescoped flow processes to Fine Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Agrochemicals. We are also developing tools for synthesis chemists to collect relevant process data for chemical engineers.
Mechanochemistry is a solvent-free solid-state grinding technique. Our work in this area is focussed on identifying new concepts for synthesis and searching for phenomena that are unattainable by other means. In tandem with this we are looking to identify reaction processes where solvent use is minimised for workup and purification as well as the reaction.
Under-Represented Fluorous Motifs
The chance of achieving a successful ‘hit’ in the search for new and improved functional organic molecules can be increased by appropriate fluorination. Fluorinated organic molecules can offer improved properties compared to their non-fluorous congeners. We are particularly interested in designing new methods to access under-represented organofluorine motifs.
Valorisation of Renewable or Waste Materials
Biofeedstocks in general and biowaste in particular represent an attractive source of useful chemical functionality, which to date is still largely untapped in terms of its application in the fine chemicals industry. We have identified continuous flow methods as a must use technology for the valorisation of such materials so that any designed methods can be rapidly scaled to manufacture.
Funding, Sponsorship and Support - Setting up and running a research group in organic chemistry in the current climate is particularly challenging, especially if you want to use a variety of different technologies! We are truly thankful to all those that have funded, donated, loaned, discounted and given free of charge to support our ongoing research efforts.