skip to main content

Title: Reversible redox controlled acids for cationic ring-opening polymerization
Advancements in externally controlled polymerization methodologies have enabled the synthesis of novel polymeric structures and architectures, and they have been pivotal to the development of new photocontrolled lithographic and 3D printing technologies. In particular, the development of externally controlled ring-opening polymerization (ROP) methodologies is of great interest, as these methods provide access to novel biocompatible and biodegradable block polymer structures. Although ROPs mediated by photoacid generators have made significant contributions to the fields of lithography and microelectronics development, these methodologies rely upon catalysts with poor stability and thus poor temporal control. Herein, we report a class of ferrocene-derived acid catalysts whose acidity can be altered through reversible oxidation and reduction of the ferrocenyl moiety to chemically and electrochemically control the ROP of cyclic esters.
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Chemical Science
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
10544 to 10549
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Redox-switchable polymerization has drawn increasing attention, in particular for the ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of biomass-derived monomers. However, an understanding of how the switch determines the observed changes is still limited. In this study, DFT calculations were employed to understand the redox-switchable ROP mechanism of ε-caprolactone catalyzed by group 4 metal complexes bearing [OSSO]-type ferrocene ligands. Our results suggest that two oxidized forms show higher reactivity because of the higher Lewis acidity of their catalytic metal centers in comparison with that of the corresponding reduced states. In one case, however, a lower activity of the oxidized species was observed that is likely due to the increased stability of the substrate-catalyst intermediate leading to a high activation barrier. In addition, other analogous metal complexes were computationally modelled by changing the metal center or modifying the ancillary ligand with different bridging-heteroatoms, and the results provide useful information on the development of new redox-switchable polymerization catalysts.
  2. Telechelic polymers, polymers with two reactive end-groups, are sought after for their role in synthesizing macromolecules with complex structures such as multiblock copolymers and graft polymers. Many strategies for the synthesis of telechelic polymers from vinyl monomers using controlled radical polymerizations and anionic polymerizations exist. However, polyolefins—which account for the major fraction of polymer production—are not easily synthesized with two reactive end-groups. This difficulty is related to the sensitivity of olefin polymerization catalysts and their propensity for intramolecular chain transfer reactions. As a result, the most common strategies to access telechelic polyethylene and polypropylene (the two major polyolefins) do not rely on the insertion polymerization of ethylene nor propylene but rather on the polymerization of dienes or cyclic olefins. Nonetheless, recent advances in insertion polymerization and post-polymerization functionalization have resulted in the emergence of novel synthetic methods to access telechelic polyolefins. We here present a comprehensive review of all of these strategies to synthesize telechelic polyolefins.
  3. Synthesis of a new mononuclear magnesium complex with a bulky bis(alkoxide) ligand environment and its reactivity in ring-opening polymerization (ROP) and ring-opening copolymerization (ROCOP) are reported. Reaction of n -butyl- sec -butylmagnesium with two equivalents of HOR (HOR = di- tert -butylphenylmethanol, HOC t Bu 2 Ph) formed Mg(OR) 2 (THF) 2 . The reaction proceeded via the Mg(OR)( sec -Bu)(THF) 2 intermediate that was independently synthesized by treating n -butyl- sec -butylmagnesium with one equivalent of HOR. Mg(OR) 2 (THF) 2 led to active albeit not well-controlled ROP of rac -lactide. In contrast, well-controlled ROCOP of epoxides with cyclic anhydrides was observed, including efficient and alternating copolymerization of phthalic anhydride with cyclohexene oxide as well as rare copolymerization of phthalic anhydride with limonene oxide and terpolymerization of phthalic anhydride with both cyclohexene oxide and limonene oxide. In addition, novel copolymerization of dihydrocoumarin with limonene oxide is described.
  4. Abstract

    The properties of a polymer are known to be intrinsically related to its molecular weight distribution (MWD); however, previous methodologies of MWD control do not use a design and result in arbitrary shaped MWDs. Here we report a precise design to synthesis protocol for producing a targeted MWD design with a simple to use, and chemistry agnostic computer-controlled tubular flow reactor. To support the development of this protocol, we constructed general reactor design rules by combining fluid mechanical principles, polymerization kinetics, and experiments. The ring opening polymerization of lactide, the anionic polymerization of styrene, and the ring opening metathesis polymerization are used as model polymerizations to develop the reactor design rules and synthesize MWD profiles. The derivation of a mathematical model enables the quantitative prediction of the experimental results, and this model provides a tool to explore the limits of any MWD design protocol.

  5. Conventional lithium-ion batteries are unable to meet the increasing demands for high-energy storage systems, because of their limited theoretical capacity. 1 In recent years, intensive attention has been paid to enhancing battery energy storage capability to satisfy the increasing energy demand in modern society and reduce the average energy capacity cost. Among the candidates for next generation high energy storage systems, the lithium sulfur battery is especially attractive because of its high theoretical specific energy (around 2600 W h kg-1) and potential cost reduction. In addition, sulfur is a cost effective and environmentally friendly material due to its abundance and low-toxicity. 2 Despite all of these advantages, the practical application of lithium sulfur batteries to date has been hindered by a series of obstacles, including low active material loading, poor cycle life, and sluggish sulfur conversion kinetics. 3 Achieving high mass loading cathode in the traditional 2D planar thick electrode has been challenged. The high distorsion of the traditional planar thick electrodes for ion/electron transfer leads to the limited utilization of active materials and high resistance, which eventually results in restricted energy density and accelerated electrode failure. 4 Furthermore, of the electrolyte to pores in the cathode and utilization ratiomore »of active materials. Catalysts such as MnO 2 and Co dopants were employed to accelerate the sulfur conversion reaction during the charge and discharge process. 5 However, catalysts based on transition metals suffer from poor electronic conductivity. Other catalysts such as transition metal dopants are also limited due to the increased process complexities. . In addition, the severe shuttle effects in Li-S batteries may lead to fast failures of the battery. Constructing a protection layer on the separator for limiting the transmission of soluble polysulfides is considered an effective way to eliminate the shuttle phenomenon. However, the soluble sulfides still can largely dissolve around the cathode side causing the sluggish reaction condition for sulfur conversion. 5 To mitigate the issues above, herein we demonstrate a novel sulfur electrode design strategy enabled by additive manufacturing and oxidative vapor deposition (oCVD). Specifically, the electrode is strategically designed into a hierarchal hollow structure via stereolithography technique to increase sulfur usage. The active material concentration loaded to the battery cathode is controlled precisely during 3D printing by adjusting the number of printed layers. Owing to its freedom in geometry and structure, the suggested design is expected to improve the Li ions and electron transport rate considerably, and hence, the battery power density. The printed cathode is sintered at 700 °C at N 2 atmosphere to achieve carbonization of the cathode during which intrinsic carbon defects (e.g., pentagon carbon) as catalytic defect sites are in-situ generated on the cathode. The intrinsic carbon defects equipped with adequate electronic conductivity. The sintered 3D cathode is then transferred to the oCVD chamber for depositing a thin PEDOT layer as a protection layer to restrict dissolutions of sulfur compounds in the cathode. Density functional theory calculation reveals the electronic state variance between the structures with and without defects, the structure with defects demonstrates the higher kinetic condition for sulfur conversion. To further identify the favorable reaction dynamic process, the in-situ XRD is used to characterize the transformation between soluble and insoluble polysulfides, which is the main barrier in the charge and discharge process of Li-S batteries. The results show the oCVD coated 3D printed sulfur cathode exhibits a much higher kinetic process for sulfur conversion, which benefits from the highly tailored hierarchal hollow structure and the defects engineering on the cathode. Further, the oCVD coated 3D printed sulfur cathode also demonstrates higher stability during long cycling enabled by the oCVD PEDOT protection layer, which is verified by an absorption energy calculation of polysulfides at PEDOT. Such modeling and analysis help to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms that govern cathode performance and degradation in Li-S batteries. The current study also provides design strategies for the sulfur cathode as well as selection approaches to novel battery systems. References: Bhargav, A., (2020). Lithium-Sulfur Batteries: Attaining the Critical Metrics. Joule 4 , 285-291. Chung, S.-H., (2018). Progress on the Critical Parameters for Lithium–Sulfur Batteries to be Practically Viable. Advanced Functional Materials 28 , 1801188. Peng, H.-J.,(2017). Review on High-Loading and High-Energy Lithium–Sulfur Batteries. Advanced Energy Materials 7 , 1700260. Chu, T., (2021). 3D printing‐enabled advanced electrode architecture design. Carbon Energy 3 , 424-439. Shi, Z., (2021). Defect Engineering for Expediting Li–S Chemistry: Strategies, Mechanisms, and Perspectives. Advanced Energy Materials 11 . Figure 1« less