Surface‐initiated PET‐RAFT polymerization under metal‐free and ambient conditions using enzyme degassing

Soyoung E. Seo, Emre H. Discekici, Yuanyi Zhang, Christopher M. Bates, & Craig J. Hawker

Journal of Polymer Science 2020, 58, 70–76

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Abstract: An open‐to‐air method for the efficient synthesis of surface‐tethered polymer brushes based on photoinduced electron transfer‐reversible addition‐fragmentation chain transfer (PET‐RAFT) polymerization is reported. Key to this approach is an enzyme‐assisted strategy using glucose oxidase to facilitate the in situ removal of oxygen during the polymerization process. Control experiments in the absence of glucose oxidase confirm the importance of enzymatic deoxygenation for successful polymerization of a variety of acrylamide, methacrylate, and acrylate monomers. In accordance with controlled polymerization kinetics, a linear increase in brush height as a function of irradiation time for a range of light intensities is demonstrated. Importantly, the use of light to mediate growth and the inherent monomer versatility of PET‐RAFT allow for the facile fabrication of well‐defined polymer brushes under aqueous conditions.