Synthesis and applications of superacids. 1,1,2,2-Tetrafluoroethanesulfonic acid, supported on silica

Mark A. Harmer*, Christopher Junk, Vsevolod Rostovtsev, Liane G. Carcani, Jemma Vickery, Zoe Schnepp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we focus on the synthesis and use of superacids, in particular 1,1,2,2-tetrafluoroethanesulfonic acid (TFESA), and describe how these can be optimized for reactions of key industrial importance. One area of considerable interest is the field of superacid catalysis and, specifically, the development of safer and more cost-effective acid catalysts. We report a new simplified route for preparation of these acids, making these more readily available and opening up a large number of opportunities. Partially fluorinated superacids offer several advantages over the acids commonly used in catalysis (sulfuric, hydrofluoric acid and aluminium chloride): lower loadings, lower reaction temperatures (leading to increased selectivity), fewer by-products, shorter reaction times and higher throughput. TFESA and its longer chain analogs are much less volatile than triflic acid (CF3SO3H). We tested these superacids in several processes (aromatic alkylation, acylation of arenes, isomerization, oligomerization and the Fries rearrangement). These materials are excellent acid catalysts, comparable to triflic acid, and yet easier to handle. We have also prepared supported versions of these catalysts and introduced the ability to recycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-37
Number of pages8
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Synthesis and applications of superacids. 1,1,2,2-Tetrafluoroethanesulfonic acid, supported on silica'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this