Dual-pathway chain-end modification of RAFT polymers using visible light and metal-free conditions

Discekici, E. H., Shankel, S. L., Anastasaki, A., Oschmann, B., Lee, I. H., Niu, J., McGrath, A. J., Clark, P. G., Laitar, D. S., Read de Alaniz, J., Hawker, C. J., Lunn, D. J.
Chem. Commun.
53, 1888-1891

We report a metal-free strategy for the chain-end modification of RAFT polymers utilizing visible light. By turning the light source on or off, the reaction pathway in one pot can be switched between either complete desulfurization (hydrogen chain-end) or simple cleavage (thiol chain-end), respectively. The versatility of this process is exemplified by application to a wide range of polymer backbones under mild, quantitative conditions using commercial reagents.