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What are the most important factors?
The thing that sits right at the top of our list is repeatability. There are still scientists out there using homemade photoreactor kit in their labs (which is scary and potentially hazardous) with a lamp and some clamps to carry out their reactions. Detailing this set up precisely in your documentation can be tricky and changing any detail (even something seemingly insignificant such as using a new LED) can completely change that reaction, rendering it far more difficult to repeat.
The next factors to consider are the intensity of the light reaching the sample, the wavelengths emitted, and the temperature in the vial/flask which are all key to a positive result.
Commercially produced photoreactors give users optimum uniformity and repeatability of their reactions but, depending on which brand or model reactor you use, there’s going to be variety between research groups from using different equipment, using different methods to control the temperature of their reaction, and using different sized vials/flasks which effect how the light source reaches the sample.
So how do I choose the perfect photochemical reactor for my work?
Wavelength: Different types of LED can vary dramatically in wavelength and intensity. By ensuring that you use the same type, and the right wavelength for your reaction, you can optimise your process. Using a reactor with built-in flexibility to accommodate multiple wavelengths enables greater use of the system, as more reactions can be carried out, therefore also achieving better value for money.
Temperature: The very nature of a photochemical reactor means that over the course of the reaction the temperature will naturally increase as a side effect of the light. If a precise temperature is key, scientists must be able to control it. External cooling fans or circulator systems bring another variable into the picture so a system with temperature control is highly desirable.
Volume and number of reactions: Users should consider the desirable volume for their photochemical reactions, and the time they take to run.
Would you prefer to run large volume single reactions, or simultaneously run smaller reaction in parallel?
Control of the reaction parameters: Consider the most essential parameters for your reaction and consider how these will be affected depending on the scale. How adaptable to alternative conditions and procedures do you require the reactor to be, and which methods offer the optimum control of those parameters?
What are my options?
At Asynt we work closely with scientists in both our Research & Development projects, as well as once a product is launched. Just because something works well, doesn’t mean that it can’t work better and genuine feedback from the lab is invaluable.
Based on popular demand from key customers, we have developed breakthrough new photochemistry technology in the form of the unique quartz reactor rod at the centre of our LightSyn Lighthouse – a single position batch photoreactor that is ideal for photochemists looking to obtain equal photon flux throughout their reaction media. By channelling the light through quartz into the sample, the medium is directly exposed to higher intensity light, resulting in greater efficiencies of sample excitation. With built-in safety features and inlet/outlet valves that allow customisability for a variety of uses, the LightSyn Lighthouse can be used for gas reactions/bubbling, programmed reaction management, sample addition or removal, and potentially Flow Chemistry set ups with multiple units.
LightSyn Lighthouse for single and parallel batch photochemical reactions
You can use three of the Lighthouse units simultaneously on one special base designed to fit directly on to your standard laboratory hotplate.
For those wishing to carry out parallel photochemical reactions in vials, the LightSyn Illumin8 takes the technology from the highly successful DrySyn OCTO parallel reactor and envelopes it in a high-powered LED photo array. With a wide range of easily interchangeable wavelength modules available, this is a versatile and safe, high-performance system with a compact footprint. For those wishing to cool their reactions it features a built-in cooling system but Asynt also offers an additional new cooling base that, depending upon your circulating thermostat, can actively control your reaction temperature from -30 °C to 80 °C.
Popular wavelength modules available for the LightSyn illumin8 parallel photoreactor
The most popular LED modules are Royal Blue 450 nm LEDs OR 365 nm LEDs however other available wavelengths include: UVA LED 390-395 nm, Violet LED 405 nm, Blue LED 460-470 nm, Green LED 520-525 nm, Yellow LED 590-595 nm, Red LED 620-625 nm, Deep Red LED 650-660 nm.
There is a growing trend within the scientific community to combine Photochemistry with Flow Chemistry, and the modular fReactor PhotoFLOW enables users to do this with ease. Each PhotoFLOW module is available individually and is currently available in two popular wavelengths (although others are available upon request): 450 nm (Blue) 10w LED COB chips / 365 nm (UV) 10w LED COB chips.
fReactor PhotoFLOW modular photochemistry in flow chemistry platform
If you would like to discuss any issues you have with your existing photochemical equipment, or have a requirement that we can support you with, please do contact our technical team via firstname.lastname@example.org or take a look through our detailed supporting information online HERE. With worldwide shipping and support, plus local distribution partners, Asynt are here to make scientists lab life easier.