Oxygen Triggered Switchable Polymerization for One-Pot Synthesis of CO2-Based Block Copolymers from Monomer Mixtures.

Research paper by Yajun Y Zhao, Yong Y Wang, Xingping X Zhou, Zhigang Z Xue, Xianhong X Wang, Xiaolin X Xie, Rinaldo R Poli

Indexed on: 20 May '20Published on: 10 Jul '19Published in: Angewandte Chemie International Edition


Switchable polymerization affords a unique opportunity to regulate polymer sequence and structure in a one-pot process from mixtures of monomers. Here we report a strategy that uses O2 as an external stimulus to switch the polymerization mechanism from the organometallic mediated radical polymerization (OMRP) of vinyl monomers mediated by (Salen)CoIII-R [Salen=N,N'-bis(3,5-di-tert-butylsalicylidene)-1,2-cyclohexanediamine; R = alkyl] to the ring-opening copolymerization (ROCOP) of CO2/epoxides. A critical issue is the unprecedented mono oxygen insertion into the Co-C bond, as demonstrated by experimental results and rationalized by DFT calculations, leading to the formation of (Salen)CoIII-O-R as an active species to initiate ROCOP. Diblock poly(vinyl acetate)-b-polycarbonate could be obtained from ROCOP of CO2/epoxides with preactivation of (Salen)Co end-capped poly(vinyl acetate). Furthermore, a poly(vinyl acetate)-b-poly(methyl acrylate)-b-polycarbonate triblock copolymer has been successfully synthesized via a (Salen)cobalt-mediated sequential polymerization with an O2-triggered switch in a one-pot process. © 2019 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.