The unique properties of microwaves make them useful in many diverse applications across a wide range of fields, spanning much of engineering and science. In the chemical sciences, microwaves provide a toolkit of electric and magnetic effects with which, at high power, unconventional heating modes can be used to produce new materials not obtainable by conventional heating. At low power, unique microwave properties can be used to make revealing spectroscopic measurements. In this review, we consider the current outlook for microwaves in chemistry beginning with the theoretical framework for our understanding of microwaves interactions and the causes of results observed.
We then survey major application areas including in synthesis and emerging areas in catalysis, energy, and environmental applications. Finally, we review new concepts in dielectric and magnetic spectroscopy at microwave frequencies with a focus upon dielectric property measurement and electron paramagnetic resonance. This nonexhaustive review seeks to highlight important and emerging areas in the chemical sciences and put into context recent developments and advances in our understanding of microwave applications in this diverse area of science and engineering.
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