Polymers, Colloids & Interfaces, Contributed Talk (15min)

Tuning Dispersity by Photoinduced Atom Transfer Radical Polymerisation: Monomodal Distributions with ppm Copper Concentration.

R. Whitfield 1, K. Parkatzidis1, M. Rolland1, N. P. Truong1, A. Anastasaki1*
1Laboratory for Polymeric Materials, Department of Materials, ETH Zurich.

Dispersity significantly affects the properties of polymers. However, current methods for controlling polymer dispersity are limited to bimodal molecular weight distributions, adulterated polymer chains, or low end-group fidelity and rely on feeding reagents, flow-based, or multicomponent systems. To overcome these limitations, we report a simple batch system whereby photoinduced atom transfer radical polymerisation is exploited as a convenient and versatile technique to control dispersity of both homopolymers and block copolymers. By varying the concentration of the copper complex, a wide range of monomodal molecular weight distributions can be obtained (Đ = 1.05–1.75). In all cases, high end-group fidelity was confirmed by MALDI-ToF-MS and exemplified by efficient block copolymer formation (monomodal, Đ = 1.1–1.5). Importantly, our approach utilises ppm levels of copper (as low as 4 ppm), can be tolerant to oxygen and exhibits perfect temporal control, representing a major step forward in tuning polymer dispersity for various applications.

[1] Richard Whitfield, Kostas Parkatzidis, Manon Rolland, Nghia Truong, Athina Anastasaki, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2019, 58, 13323-13328.

[2] Richard Whitfield, Nghia Truong, Daniel Messmer, Kostas Parkatzidis, Manon Rolland,  Athina Anastasaki, Chem. Sci, 2019, 10, 8724-8734.