New light-based method for faster 'green' production of building blocks for medicines

In industry, gaseous hydrocarbons such as ethane and methane are frequently changed into molecules that can act as building blocks for pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. Typically, these processes take place at high temperatures and pressures, and can also produce large amounts of pollutants. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) have developed a new method for the immediate conversion of gaseous, low-weight hydrocarbons to more complex molecules at room temperatures and low pressures by illuminating the molecules with light in the presence of a suitable catalyst. Notably, this new process is faster and leads to little or no material waste. This work has been published today in the journal Science.