Controlled Radical Polymerization of Acrylates Regulated by Visible Light

Treat, N.J.; Fors, B.P.; Kramer, J.W.; Christianson, M.; Chiu, C.Y.; de Alaniz, J.R.; Hawker, C.J.
ACS Macro Letters
3, 580-584.

The controlled radical polymerization of a variety of acrylate monomers is reported using an Ir-catalyzed visible light mediated process leading to well-defined homo-, random, and block copolymers. The polymerizations could be efficiently activated and deactivated using light while maintaining a linear increase in molecular weight with conversion and first order kinetics. The robust nature of the fac-[Ir(ppy)3] catalyst allows carboxylic acids to be directly introduced at the chain ends through functional initiators or along the backbone of random copolymers (controlled process up to 50 mol % acrylic acid incorporation). In contrast to traditional ATRP procedures, low polydispersity block copolymers, poly(acrylate)-b-(acrylate), poly(methacrylate)-b-(acrylate), and poly(acrylate)-b-(methacrylate), could be prepared with no monomer sequence requirements. These results illustrate the increasing generality and utility of light mediated Ir-catalyzed polymerization as a platform for polymer synthesis.