484. Autonomous execution of highly reactive chemical transformations in the Schlenkputer

Nicola L. Bell, Florian Boser, Andrius Bubliauskas, Dominic R. Willcox, Victor Sandoval Luna & Leroy Cronin, Nature Chemical Engineering, (2024), DOI: 10.1038/s44286-023-00024-y

We design a modular programmable inert-atmosphere Schlenkputer (Schlenk-line computer) for the synthesis and manipulation of highly reactive compounds, including those that are air and moisture sensitive or pyrophoric. Here, to do this, we constructed a programmable Schlenk line using the Chemputer architecture for the inertization of glassware that can achieve a vacuum line pressure of 1.5 × 10−3 mbar, and integrated a range of automated Schlenk glassware for the handling, storage and isolation of reactive compounds at sub-ppm levels of O2 and H2O. This has enabled automation of a range of common organometallic reaction types for the synthesis of four highly reactive compounds: [Cp2TiIII(MeCN)2]+, CeIII{N(SiMe3)2}3, B(C6F5)3 and {DippNacNacMgI}2, which are variously sensitive to temperature, pressure, water and oxygen. Automated crystallization, filtration and sublimation are demonstrated, along with analysis using inline nuclear magnetic resonance or reaction sampling for ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy. Finally, we demonstrate low-temperature reactivity down to −90 °C as well as safe handling and quenching of alkali metal reagents using dynamic feedback from an in situ temperature probe.