Synthesis of well-defined polystyrene with primary amine end groups through the use of phthalimido-functional RAFT agents

Almar Postma, Thomas P. Davis, Richard A. Evans, Guoxin Li, Graeme Moad, Michael S. O'Shea

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149 Citations (Scopus)


Phthalimidomethyl trithiocarbonates are used as reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) agents to provide low polydispersity α-(phthalimidomethyl)polystyrene with number-average molecular weight in the range 1000-100000 g mol-1. The activity of the phthalimidomethyl trithiocarbonates in RAFT polymerization of styrene, which appears to be similar to that of analogous benzyl trithiocarbonates, is attributed to the electrophilic character of the phthalimidomethyl group. The trithiocarbonate functionality in the products was quantitatively transformed to inert chain ends either by radical-induced reduction with tributylstannane or by thermal elimination, allowing the phthalimido end groups to be cleanly converted to primary amine end groups by hydrazinolysis. Thermolysis experiments, in which the polymers are cleaved at the trithiocarbonate linkage, also provide information on the mechanism of RAFT polymerization. In the case of the symmetrical bis(phthalimidomethyl) trithiocarbonate the two chains grow stepwise indicating that this RAFT agent has a higher transfer constant than the phthalimidomethyl polystyrene trithiocarbonate and that polystyrene propagating radical is a better homolytic leaving group than the phthalimidomethyl radical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5293-5306
Number of pages14
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes

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