The tacticity of vinyl polymers has a profound effect on their physical properties. Despite the well-developed stereoselective methods for the polymerization of propylene and other nonpolar α-olefins, stereoselective polymerization of polar vinyl monomers has proven more challenging. We have designed chiral counterions that systematically bias the reactivity and chain-end stereochemical environment during cationic polymerization. This approach overrides conventional chain-end stereochemical bias to achieve catalyst-controlled stereoselective polymerization. We demonstrate that this method is general to vinyl ether substrates, providing access to a range of isotactic poly(vinyl ether)s with high degrees of isotacticity. The obtained materials display the tensile properties of commercial polyolefins but adhere more strongly to polar substrates by an order of magnitude, indicating their promise for next-generation engineering applications.
Enabling Conducting Polymer Applications: Methods for Achieving High Molecular Weight in Chemical Oxidative Polymerization in Alkyl- and Ether-Substituted Thiophenes
Polythiophenes (PTs) constitute a diverse array of promising materials for conducting polymer applications. However, many of the synthetic methods to produce PTs have been optimized only for the prototypical alkyl-substituted example poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT). Improvement of these methods beyond P3HT is key to enabling the widespread application of PTs. In this work, P3HT and two ether-substituted PTs poly(2-dodecyl-2H,3H-thieno[3,4-b][1,4]dioxine) (PEDOT-C12) and poly(3,4-bis(hexyloxy)thiophene) (PBHOT) are synthesized by the FeCl3-initiated oxidative method under different conditions. Polymerization was carried out according to a common literature procedure (“reverse addition”) and a modified method (“standard addition”), which differ by the solvent system and the order of addition of reagents to the reaction mixture. Gel-permeation chromatography (GPC) was performed to determine the impact of the different methods on the molecular weights (Mw) and degree of polymerization (Xw) of the polymers relative to polystyrene standards. The standard addition method produced ether-substituted PTs with higher Mw and Xw than those produced using the reverse addition method for sterically unhindered monomers. For P3HT, the highest Mw and Xw were obtained using the reverse addition method. The results show the oxidation potential of the monomer and solution has the greatest impact on the yield and Xw obtained and should be carefully considered more »
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