Mechanistic Insights on the Mechanosynthesis of Phenytoin, a WHO Essential Medicine

12 November 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


In recent years, mechanochemistry has enriched the toolbox of synthetic chemists, enabling faster and more sustainable access to new materials and existing products, including active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). However, molecular-level understanding of most mechanochemical reactions remains limited, delaying the implementation of mechanochemistry in industrial applications. Herein, we have applied in-situ monitoring by Raman spectroscopy to the mechanosynthesis of phenytoin, a World Health Organization (WHO) Essential Medicine, enabling the observation, isolation, and characterization of key molecular-migration intermediates involved in the single-step transformation of benzil, urea, and KOH into phenytoin. This work contributes to the elucidation of a reaction mechanism that has been subjected to a number of interpretations over time and paints a clear picture of how mechanosynthesis can be applied and optimized for the preparation of added-value molecules.


Ball milling
in-situ monitoring

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Supporting information for: Mechanistic Insights on the Mechanosynthesis of Phenytoin, a WHO Essential Medicine


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