Triazine-mediated controlled radical polymerization: new unimolecular initiators

Areephong, J.; Mattson, K. M. ; Treat, N. J. ; Poelma, S. O.; Kramer, J. W.; Sprafke, H. A.; Latimer, A. A.; Read de Alaniz, J.; Hawker, C. J.
Polym. Chem.
7, 370-374

Triazine-based unimolecular initiators are shown to mediate the controlled radical polymerization of several monomer classes, yielding polymers with low dispersities, targeted molecular weights, and active chain ends. We report the modular synthesis of structurally and electronically diverse triazine-based unimolecular initiators and demonstrate their ability to efficiently control the radical polymerization of modified styrene monomers. Copolymerizations of styrene with butyl acrylate or methyl methacrylate were conducted to highlight the monomer family tolerance of this system. Notably, in the case of methyl methacrylate and styrene, up to 90 mol% methyl methacrylate comonomer loadings could be achieved while maintaining a controlled polymerization, allowing the synthesis of a range of block copolymers. This class of triazine-based mediators has the potential to complement current methods of controlled radical polymerization and marks an important milestone in ongoing efforts to develop initiators and mediators with high monomer tolerance that are both metal and sulfur-free.