Controlled Formation and Binding Selectivity of Discrete Oligo(methyl methacrylate) Stereocomplexes

Ren, J. M., Lawrence, J., Knight, A. S., Abdilla, A., Bou Zerdan, R., Levi, A. E., Oschmann, B., Gutekunst, W. R., Lee, S., Li, Y., McGrath, A. J., Bates, C. M., Qiao, G. G., Hawker, C. J.
J. Am. Chem. Soc.
2018
140 (5), pp 1945–1951

The triple-helix stereocomplex of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) is a unique example of a multistranded synthetic helix that has significant utility and promise in materials science and nanotechnology. To gain a fundamental understanding of the underlying assembly process, discrete stereoregular oligomer libraries were prepared by combining stereospecific polymerization techniques with automated flash chromatography purification. Stereocomplex assembly of these discrete building blocks enabled the identification of (1) the minimum degree of polymerization required for the stereocomplex formation and (2) the dependence of the helix crystallization mode on the length of assembling precursors. More significantly, our experiments resolved binding selectivity between helical strands with similar molecular weights. This presents new opportunities for the development of next-generation polymeric materials based on a triple-helix motif.