Accessing new materials through polymerization and modification of a polycarbonate with a pendant activated ester

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Functionalized polycarbonates were synthesized by organocatalytic ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of a cyclic monomer with a pendant activated ester (MTC-OC6F5) followed by a postpolymerization modification with both small molecules and macromolecules. Controlled ROP to form homopolymers and diblock copolymers was realized using catalytic quantities of triflic acid. For the homopolymers, a linear relationship between [M] 0/[I]0 and molecular weight (by GPC) demonstrated the living nature of the polymerization. Poly(MTC-OC6F5) was functionalized under mild reaction conditions with a variety of amines to obtain polymers with pendant primary, secondary, and tertiary amides. Graft polymers with a high grafting density of over 87% were synthesized using amine-terminated poly(ethylene glycol) of two different molecular weights (2 and 5 kDa). The preparation of poly(MTC-OC6F5) provides a means of accessing a wide range of functional polycarbonates with minimal synthetic steps. This new methodology for the formation of functionalized polycarbonates provides a simple and versatile platform for the synthesis of new and innovative materials. © 2013 American Chemical Society.