Abstract: The Effects of Microwave Irradiation on Organic Reactions

The use of microwaves to speed chemical reactions was first explored in 1986, and since then, scientists have been successful in applying microwave technology to many areas of chemistry. Chemists have found microwave heating to be more effective than traditional heating methods because microwaves target reactants on the molecular level, providing high amounts of energy in short periods of time. Ultimately, the microwave is a tool that allows chemists to substantially decrease reaction times while maintaining high product yields and purity, thereby allowing them to increase the speed of scientific advancements.

My summer project will focus on the use of microwave energy to perform certain biologically relevant reactions more efficiently; these reactions include Fischer esterification, click chemistry reactions, and the Glaser-Hay coupling reaction. After performing preliminary trials of these reactions, I will select one and perform additional trials. By the end of my project, I will have pinpointed the ideal microwave reaction times and temperatures that optimize the yield and purity of my desired product.