Williamson synthesis[′wil·yəm·sən ′sin·thə·səs]
in organic chemistry, one of the methods of preparing ethers from alkoxides or phenoxides of alkali metals and alkyl halides:
R - X + Me - OR′→R - O - R→ + MeX
where R is an alkyl, R′ is an alkyl or aryl, Me is an atom of an alkali metal, and X is a halogen atom.
The method was developed by the British chemist A. W. Williamson (1824-1904). Dialkyl sulfates, (RO)2SO2, may be used in place of alkyl halides. Reactions analogous to the Williamson synthesis are used in preparing esters and acid anhydrides.