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Pure Appl. Chem., 2001, Vol. 73, No. 12, pp. 1895-1905

Green synthesis via electrolysis in microemulsions

James F. Rusling

Department of Chemistry, Box U-60, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-3060, USA

Abstract: Electrolysis in microemulsions is a promising approach for environmentally friendly chemical synthetic methods of the future. Employing microemulsions instead of organic solvents for electrosynthesis has the advantages of lower toxicity and cost, high dissolving power for reactants and mediators of unlike solubility, enhancement of reaction rates by controlling the reduction potentials of mediators, possible reaction pathway control, and recycling of microemulsion components. This paper reviews recent progress in using microemulsions for direct and mediated electrosynthesis, including formation of carbon­carbon bonds. Rates of mediated reactions can be controlled by manipulating microemulsion composition. Examples are presented, in which reaction pathways of direct and mediated electrolyses can be controlled with microemulsions to give desired products in high yields. Such control has been demonstrated with dissolved and surface-bound mediators. For a covalently linked scaffold of poly(l-lysine) and cobalt corrin vitamin B12 hexacarboxylate attached to graphite, catalytic turnover rate for reduction of 1,2-dibromocylcohexane was optimized by optimizing microemulsion composition.