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Microwave-assisted organic synthesis is becoming a more common laboratory practice. The advantages of using microwave-assisted synthesis include shortened reaction time, lower energy costs and cleaner reactions. This particular experiment explores a much greener Wittig reaction that doesn't require an inert atmosphere, a strong base (i.e., butyl lithium) or even a solvent. In addition to these advantages, this experiment also uses a common domestic microwave and standard glassware.
The greener Witting reaction also provides the instructor with the opportunity to introduce their students to the concepts surrounding thin-layer chromatography, 1H NMR, mass spectrometry, and alkene stereochemistry.
Supplemental material includes chemical list, lab procedure, lab questions, instructor notes, tips for a successful lab and spectroscopic data.
Summary prepared September 2008 by Douglas M. Young at the University of Oregon.
Mertin, E.; Kellen-Yuen, C. J. Chem. Educ., Print 2007, 84, pp 2004-2006.