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Nanotechnology Reviews

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Volume 3, Issue 1


Metallic nanoparticles made in flow and their catalytic applications in organic synthesis

Elnaz Shahbazali
  • Laboratory of Chemical Reactor Engineering/Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Volker Hessel
  • Corresponding author
  • Laboratory of Chemical Reactor Engineering/Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Timothy Noël
  • Laboratory of Chemical Reactor Engineering/Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Qi Wang
  • Laboratory of Chemical Reactor Engineering/Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2013-08-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ntrev-2013-0017


This paper reviews recent developments on the synthesis of noble metal nanoparticles in micro and millifluidic devices and their catalytic application in organic flow synthesis. A variety of synthesis methods using microfluidics is presented for gold, silver, palladium, platinum, and copper nanoparticles, including the formation in single-phase flows and multiphase flows. In the field of organic chemistry, metal nanoparticles can be used as catalysts. This can lead to remarkably improved reaction performance in terms of minimizing the reaction time and higher yields. In this context, various applications of those metal nanoparticles as catalysts in microfluidic devices are highlighted at selected examples. As a new direction and operational window, nanocatalysts may be synthesized in situ in flow and directly utilized in an organic synthesis. This allows making use of highly active, yet instable catalyst species, which may only have a very short life of a few seconds – a type of flashed nanocatalyst organic synthesis.

Keywords: catalyst; flow chemistry; metal nanoparticles; synthesis


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About the article

Elnaz Shahbazali

Elnaz Shahbazali studied Chemical Engineering at University of Tehran during 2000–2005 and received her M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering at Sharif University of Technology in 2008. She then moved to Eindhoven University of Technology and underwent a PDEng. (Professional Doctorate Eng.) program for 2 years. Then, in 2012, she started a PhD at Eindhoven University of Technology under the research group of Prof. Volker Hessel in Chemical Engineering. Her research interest is mostly focused on organic synthesis in flow chemistry.

Volker Hessel

Volker Hessel, born in 1964, studied Chemistry at Mainz University. Since 1994, he is an employee of the Institut für Mikrotechnik Mainz (IMM) GmbH. In 1999, he was appointed Head of the Microreaction Technology Department. In 2002, Prof. Hessel was appointed Vice Director R&D at IMM and in 2007 as Director R&D at IMM. He is author or co-author of more than 250 peer-reviewed publications (with 36 extended reviews), 16 book chapters, and 5 books. In 2005, he was appointed as part-time Professor for the chair of “Micro Process Engineering” at Eindhoven University of Technology. In 2009, he was appointed as Honorary Professor at the Technical Chemistry Department at Technical University of Darmstadt. In 2011, he was appointed as full Professor for the chair of “Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology” at Eindhoven University of Technology, TU/e, and in 2012 as Guest Professor at Kunming University of Science and Technology. Prof. Hessel received the AIChE award “Excellence in Process Development Research” in 2007. In 2010, he received the ERC Advanced Grant on “Novel Process Windows” and is Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Green Processing and Synthesis”.

Timothy Noël

Timothy Noël was born in Aalst, Belgium. He received a MSc degree (Industrial Chemical Engineering) from the KAHO Sint-Lieven in 2004. In 2009, he received his PhD at the University of Ghent with Professor Johan Van der Eycken (Department of Organic Chemistry). He then moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor Stephen L. Buchwald (Department of Chemistry), where he worked on flow chemistry (MIT-Novartis Center for Continuous Manufacturing). In 2012, he accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the group of Professor Volker Hessel at Eindhoven University of Technology. In 2011, Dr. Noël received an Incentive Award for Young Researchers from the Comité de Gestion du Bulletin des Sociétés Chimiques Belges. In 2012, he received a prestigious Veni award from the Dutch Government (NWO). His research interests are focused on flow chemistry, organic synthetic chemistry, and catalysis.

Qi Wang

Qi Wang studied Chemical Engineering at Hebei University of Technology (China) during 1999–2003 and received her MSc in Chemical Engineering at the same University in 2006. She received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Tsinghua University (China) in 2010. Next, she performed postdoctoral research at Eindhoven University of Technology in the research group of Prof. Volker Hessel in Chemical Engineering. Her research interests are the holistic evaluation (cost analysis and life cycle assessment) and micro-separator research for micro continuous flow process design. She is also interested in plasma enhanced heterogeneous catalysis.

Corresponding author: Volker Hessel, Laboratory of Chemical Reactor Engineering/Micro Flow Chemistry and Process Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands, e-mail:

Received: 2013-03-26

Accepted: 2013-07-04

Published Online: 2013-08-14

Published in Print: 2014-02-01

Citation Information: Nanotechnology Reviews, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 65–86, ISSN (Online) 2191-9097, ISSN (Print) 2191-9089, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ntrev-2013-0017.

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