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Novel synthesis technique wins Ciba Specialty Chemicals R&D Award 2006

Published on 2006-11-16. Author : SpecialChem

An interdisciplinary team receives the Ciba R&D Award 2006 for developing a new synthesis technique that makes photoinitiator production safer, more efficient and environmentally more sustainable. The key advance involves reacting a phosphorus-derived starting material with sodium metal, which significantly improves on earlier methods by simplifying the process and increasing yield. The team has showed that the synthesis is both safe and robust, allowing dosage and temperature control of all process steps.

Professor Jean-Marie Pierre Lehn, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry and a member of the Board of Directors of Ciba, presented the award at this year's Research & Development Conference in Basel, Switzerland. The award recipients are Souad Boulmaaz, Reinhard H. Sommerlade (project leader), Stephan Sutterlin and Thomas Ulrich of Process Development and Stephan Burkhardt, Peter Murer and Jean-Pierre Wolf of Research. Foundations for the project were laid in collaboration with a research team at ETH Zurich led by Professor Hansjoerg Gruetzmacher.

Chief Technology Officer Martin Riediker comments: "This work is of fundamental significance for our scientific understanding of phosphorus chemistry, and it gives Ciba a sustainable advantage in producing phosphorus-based photoinitiators. These products are particularly suited for photoinduced curing of thick and pigmented coatings as well as clearcoats for outdoor applications containing light stabilizers."

Despite earlier experience suggesting that a sodium-based process would not work, the award-winning team used sodium to synthesize the main precursor of the photoinitiator Ciba® IRGACURE® 819. Routine production with the new technique began at Ciba' Schweizerhalle plant in August 2006.

Ciba (SWX: CIBN, NYSE: CSB) is a leading global company dedicated to producing high-value effects for its customers' products. We strive to be the partner of choice for our customers, offering them innovative products and one-stop expert service. We create effects that improve the quality of life - adding performance, protection, color and strength to plastics, paper, automobiles, buildings, home and personal care products and much more. Ciba is active in more than 120 countries around the world and is committed to be a leader in its chosen markets. In 2005, the Company's continued operations generated sales of CHF 6.1 billion and invested over CHF 270 million in R&D.

Source: Ciba


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