New Reagents for C4F8 Transfer that Eliminates the Use of Hazardous C2F4


Lehigh University has developed new (perfluoroalkyl)metallacyclic zinc reagents that could be used in applications to transfer sequential difluoromethylene groups to organic, inorganic, and organometallic substrates.  The accompanying methods to prepare the new zinc reagents have also been developed by the university. Known synthetic routes to perfluorometallacyles all involve the use of hazardous gases, like tetrafluoroethylene (TFE). Such routes are problematic for discovery research today as TFE has become increasingly unavailable for purchase due to the explosion hazards associated with its handing.  TFE can be prepared inexpensively on a reasonable scale from the thermal pyrolysis of waste polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), but such routes typically involve temperatures above 600 °C and use of a quartz furnace connected to a vacuum manifold.  Such an apparatus is not commonplace in a traditional synthetic laboratory.  Moreover, the pyrolysis route does not eliminate the detonation hazards accompanying the re-condensed TFE or the problems associated with the acute toxicity of octofluoroisobutylene, which can be formed as a by-product in the thermal degradation of PTFE. Other methods exist to generate TFE more expensively on a small scale, but require gas-handling techniques that can complicate experimental protocols. Our zinc reagents are air-stable, free-flowing solids that pose no explosion hazards.  Moreover, no toxic gases are generated in their production.


Lehigh Tech ID#060713-01



The reagents can potential be used to prepare new fluorinated refrigerants, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, surfactants, polymers, liquid crystals, anesthetics, blood substitutes, aerosol formulations and lubricants.



Lehigh University is initially interested in identifying industry partners to co-develop the reagents, ultimately leading to licensing.



App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Provisional [PR] United States 61/844,067 7/9/2013   7/9/2014
Patent Cooperation Treaty [PCT] Patent Cooperation Treaty PCT/US2014/045673   7/8/2014   7/8/2017
For Information, Contact:
Rick Smith
Lehigh University
David Vicic