Electrochemistry offers opportunities to promote single-electron transfer (SET) redox-neutral chemistries similar to those recently discovered using visible-light photocatalysis but without the use of an expensive photocatalyst. Herein, we introduce a microfluidic redox-neutral electrochemistry (μRN-eChem) platform that has broad applicability to SET chemistry, including radical-radical cross-coupling, Minisci-type reactions, and nickel-catalyzed C(sp2)–O cross-coupling. The cathode and anode simultaneously generate the corresponding reactive intermediates, and selective transformation is facilitated by the rapid molecular diffusion across a microfluidic channel that outpaces the decomposition of the intermediates. μRN-eChem was shown to enable a two-step gram-scale electrosynthesis of a nematic liquid crystal compound, demonstrating its practicality.
“Microfluidic electrochemistry for single-electron transfer redox-neutral reactions”, Science, 2020, 368(6497), 1352-1357.