RAFT polymerization and thiol chemistry: A complementary pairing for implementing modern macromolecular design

Peter J Roth, Cyrille Boyer, Andrew B Lowe, Thomas Paul Davis

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178 Citations (Scopus)


Reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization is one of the most extensively studied reversible deactivation radical polymerization methods for the production of well-defined polymers. After polymerization, the RAFT agent end-group can easily be converted into a thiol, opening manifold opportunities for thiol modification reactions. This review is focused both on the introduction of functional end-groups using well-established methods, such as thiol-ene chemistry, as well as on creating bio-cleavable disulfide linkages via disulfide exchange reactions. We demonstrate that thiol modification is a highly attractive and efficient chemistry for modifying RAFT polymers. The versatility of thiol chemistry on RAFT-prepared polymers is reviewed. Methods producing stable thioether bonds as well as (bio-)degradable disulfide bonds are presented. These methods are highly useful to introduce functional or reactive end-groups into polymers and to build up (degradable) nano-structures for drug delivery purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1123 - 1143
Number of pages21
JournalMacromolecular Rapid Communications
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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