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Remote-controlled experiments with cloud chemistry

Developing cleaner chemical processes often involves sophisticated flow-chemistry equipment that is not available in many economically developing countries. For reactions where it is the data that are important rather than the physical product, the networking of chemists across the internet to allow remote experimentation offers a viable solution to this problem.

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Figure 1: The principle of cloud-chemistry experiments.
Figure 2: The results of an optimization of the acid-catalysed reaction of 1-butanol with dimethyl carbonate (DMC) in supercritical CO2 carried out in Nottingham, UK, but controlled by Guilherme Aydos from his desk in Brazil.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the University of Nottingham for supporting this work. We are grateful to Professors Chris Rudd and Christine Ennew for their enthusiasm for cloud chemistry. We also thank CBMM for donation of the niobium catalysts, and all of the different sponsors that have supported the researchers in our universities who have taken part in this experiment. M.W.G. thanks the Royal Society for a Wolfson Research Merit Award.

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Correspondence to Martyn Poliakoff.

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Skilton, R., Bourne, R., Amara, Z. et al. Remote-controlled experiments with cloud chemistry. Nature Chem 7, 1–5 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nchem.2143

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