01 January 2022
31 December 2023


First Enterprise Partnership - Near infrared spectroscopy for continuous monitoring of Grignard reagent synthesis

The First Entreprise program enables a company with a head office in Wallonia to hire a researcher to carry out research and provide training through an internship in a research organization. As part of a project of this type, the CRA-W is providing two years' scientific supervision for Alexis Rousseaux, a Chemium researcher, on a chemistry-related project.


Continuous flow chemistry (CFC) refers to an approach to chemical synthesis in which reagents are introduced and products extracted continuously within a reactor. Compared with traditional "batch" chemical synthesis, this approach offers greater safety, enabling production to be located closer to its intended use, higher productivity and reduced consumption of raw materials and energy. CFC allows better control of reactions, but requires instruments that can instantly measure the quality of materials entering and leaving the reactor. This is where near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) comes in. By monitoring the concentration of residual reagents and the desired product in the solvent, NIRS enables continuous control of the reaction, validating that the product meets quality standards and immediately detecting potential hazards. 


As part of the project, the researcher is setting up NIRS monitoring of the continuous flow synthesis of Grignard reagents, unstable chemical compounds in great demand in the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and cosmetics industries. He is developing an interactive chemometrics tool that enables him to set up optimized spectral calibrations for different reactions, and to transfer these calibrations from an experimental or pilot reactor to a large-scale production unit. CRA-W provides training and advice on spectroscopic aspects (choice of instrument, measurement techniques) and chemometrics (approaches to mathematical modelling of the measured signal). Although not directly linked to agriculture, the project will reinforce CRA-W's expertise in on-line production control using near-infrared spectroscopy, expertise which can subsequently be put to good use in the farming world.


CRA-W staff involved:

  • François Stevens
  • Juan Antonio Fernández Pierna
  • Vincent Baeten

People from outside CRA-W involved

Alexis Rousseaux (Chemium)

Audric Nagy (Chemium)



"NIRFLOW: Development of NIR Spectroscopy as a research tool for online monitoring of continuous flow chemistry".