Laboratory-scale photoreactors for high-througput experimentation

Summary of the technology

We are seeking licensees for the manufacture and commercialization of market-ready photoreactors with full control on temperature and light intensity. The developed photoreactors comprise several reaction spaces in order to allow parallel experimentation and reaction optimization.

Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia
Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia

Technology description

Currently available batch-photochemical reactors in the market are limited and not adapted to the different emerging fields of chemical research and industry. For instance, the current commercial photo-reactors for synthetic scale from milligrams to few grams do not allow for a basic, simultaneous and simple control of the light-intensity and the temperature, which results in a poor reproducibility.This is even more problematic when high throughput experimental techniques (HTET) are used to accelerate the optimization of photocatalytic reactions. HTET is an extremely useful and successful approach to deal with reaction discovery and optimization processes, especially in photoredox catalysed transformations, where the number of variables to be optimized is usually large. For instance, catalyst, cocatalyst and substrate loadings, additives, solvent, temperature, light source and intensity, all influence the output and the catalytic performance, leading to a typical range volume of 1000 - 5000 experiments per study. This poor control over the reaction parameters slows down the research, innovation and the applicability and reproducibility of the newly developed synthetic methods between laboratories. The poor control over the reaction also renders the difficulty in the transferability to industry, in which tight control about the composition of synthesized products is mandatory.

We have developed two laboratory prototypes of photoreactors: 

  1. Device for initial screening and optimization phase (milligrams, HTE-Milligram) t
  2. Device for synthetic applications (grams Multi-gram)

The Multi-Photo-Reactors will allow high degrees of reliability and reproducibility since they simultaneously control the two essential variables in photocatalytic transformations: i) temperature and ii) light-intensity.


The parallel photoreactor is typically formed by two independent BLOCKS (BLOCK-LED and BLOCK-REACTION) that works together and are separated by an insulating layer. The BLOCK-LED is formed by a LED array attached to a temperature control plate and connected to a regulable power source. The BLOCK-REACTION is mainly formed by a solid highly conductive with an internal refrigeration circuit to ensure a stable and correct temperature control of the reactions. 

Innovative aspects

  1. Use of high intensity light possible
  2. Full temperature control
  3. adaptable reaction size


R&D in photochemistry, drug discovery, syntehtic tools, development of active ingredients

Intellectual property status

Patent already applied for

Current development status

Working prototypes

Desired business relationship

Technology selling

Patent licensing

Technology development

Related Keywords

  • Physical Sciences and Exact Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Measurement Tools
  • Other consumer services (including photo processing)
  • Other

About Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia

The Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia represents one of the very first fruits of the new scientific policy of the government of Catalonia (Spain) aimed at creating new research centres in strategic areas. ICIQ, in particular, has been created with the ambition of becoming a reference for chemistry in the European Research Space.

Our society faces important challenges in the XXI century, among which health and environmental concerns are of outmost importance. Chemistry will play an essential role in both of these challenges. To succeed, our increasingly knowledge-based economy will require a solid and strong chemical industry; currently 150.000 jobs in Catalonia (and more than 2 million in the EU) directly arise from the chemical industry. In order for this industry to be successful in the future, it must take a sustainable approach based on the rational use of feed-stocks and raw materials. For this, fundamental chemical research needs to be funded and novel approaches into transforming matter must be developed.

We at ICIQ consider that catalysis is the key activity for sustainable chemistry. Catalytic processes can minimize raw materials and energy consumption, and can lead to the selective formation of target products with minimal generation of wastes. In line with this consideration, we have taken catalysis as one of our main research topics.

Complementary to our research focus, attention has been paid to the development of a simple and efficient organizational model for ICIQ, able to overcome known difficulties normally associated with larger and more traditional research institutions. The Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia aims at bridging the gap between academic research and industry, focusing its research on catalytic chemical processes for applications in health, energy and sustainability.

At ICIQ, we consider that patents are highly efficient, safe and solid tools to provide protection from competitors. This is why we file patents for our in-house developed-technologies: to give our co-development projects with industry a strong starting IP position. As a research centre our goal is always to co-develop our technology adapting it to the industrial partner’s specific needs and ultimately transfer the technology to this company, with a flexible licensing strategy adapted to each case.

Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia

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