Metal-free Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization
In order to overcome the challenge of metal contamination in traditional ATRP systems, we have been involved in developing a metal-free ATRP process, mediated by light and catalyzed by an organic-based photoredox catalyst. Polymerization of vinyl monomers are efficiently activated and deactivated with light leading to excellent control over the molecular weight, polydispersity, and chain ends of the resulting polymers. Significantly, block copolymer formation is facile and can be combined with other controlled radical processes leading to structural and synthetic versatility. We believe that these new organic-based photoredox catalysts will enable new applications for controlled radical polymerizations and are exploring their further value in both small molecule and polymer chemistry.