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  1. Abstract

    The ability to efficiently and selectively process mixed polymer waste is important to address the growing plastic waste problem. Herein, we report that the combination of ZnCl2and an additive amount of poly(ethylene glycol) under vacuum can readily and selectively depolymerize polyesters and polycarbonates with high ceiling temperatures (Tc>200 °C) back to their constitute monomers. Mechanistic experiments implicate a random chain scission mechanism and a catalyst structure containing one equivalent of ZnCl2per ethylene glycol repeat unit in the poly(ethylene glycol). In addition to being general for a wide variety of polyesters and polycarbonates, the catalyst system could selectively depolymerize a polyester in the presence of other commodity plastics, demonstrating how reactive distillation using the ZnCl2/PEG600 catalyst system can be used to separate mixed plastic waste.

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  2. Abstract

    Direct synthesis of CH3COOH from CH4and CO2is an appealing approach for the utilization of two potent greenhouse gases that are notoriously difficult to activate. In thisCommunication, we report an integrated route to enable this reaction. Recognizing the thermodynamic stability of CO2, our strategy sought to first activate CO2to produce CO (through electrochemical CO2reduction) and O2(through water oxidation), followed by oxidative CH4carbonylation catalyzed by Rh single atom catalysts supported on zeolite. The net result was CH4carboxylation with 100 % atom economy. CH3COOH was obtained at a high selectivity (>80 %) and good yield (ca. 3.2 mmol g−1catin 3 h). Isotope labelling experiments confirmed that CH3COOH is produced through the coupling of CH4and CO2. This work represents the first successful integration of CO/O2production with oxidative carbonylation reaction. The result is expected to inspire more carboxylation reactions utilizing preactivated CO2that take advantage of both products from the reduction and oxidation processes, thus achieving high atom efficiency in the synthesis.

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  3. Abstract

    Cysteine bioconjugation serves as a powerful tool in biological research and has been widely used for chemical modification of proteins, constructing antibody‐drug conjugates, and enabling cell imaging studies. Cysteine conjugation reactions with fast kinetics and exquisite selectivity have been under heavy pursuit as they would allow clean protein modification with just stoichiometric amounts of reagents, which minimizes side reactions, simplifies purification and broadens functional group tolerance. In this concept, we summarize the recent advances in fast cysteine bioconjugation, and discuss the mechanism and chemical principles that underlie the high efficiencies of the newly developed cysteine reactive reagents.

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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 30, 2025
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 27, 2025
  6. Cyclic ketene acetals (CKAs) are among the most well-studied monomers for radical ring-opening polymerization (rROP). However, ring-retaining side reactions and low reactivities in homopolymerization and copolymerization remain significant challenges for existing CKAs. Here, we report that a class of monosaccharide CKAs can be facilely prepared from a short and scalable synthetic route and can undergo quantitative, regiospecific, and stereoselective rROP. NMR analyses and degradation experiments revealed a reaction mechanism involving a propagating radical at the C2 position of pyranose, with different monosaccharides exhibiting distinct stereoselectivity in the radical addition of the monomer. Furthermore, adding maleimide was found to improve the incorporation efficiency of the monosaccharide CKA in the copolymerization with vinyl monomers, producing unique degradable terpolymers with carbohydrate motifs in the polymer backbone. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 28, 2025
  7. Liquid phase separation using aqueous biphasic systems (ABS) is widely used in industrial processes for the extraction, separation and purification of macromolecules. Using water as the single solvent, a wide...

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  9. The successful polymerization of the Dewar isomer of an azaborinine heterocycle is reported. Controlled ring-opening metathesis polymerization was accomplished with Grubbs and Hoveya−Grubbs second generation catalysts (G2, HG2), as well as a Z-selective Ru catalyst (HGM2001). The structure of the polymers containing 4-membered B−N heterocycles was verified by GPC and multinuclear and 2D NMR. Differences in stereochemistry of polymers derived from G2/HG2 versus the Z-selective catalyst HGM2001 were substantiated by 2D NOESY, FT-IR, and Raman analyses. The incorporation of B−N heterocycles into these polymer structures is promising as a route to functional polymers that contain polar side groups. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 14, 2024
  10. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024