Dual living free radical and ring opening polymerizations from a double-headed initiator


The concept of performing dual living polymerizations from a single initiating molecule with no intermediate activation, or transformation, steps is presented. The compatibility of "living", or controlled free radical procedures, either nitroxide mediated or atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), with the living ring opening polymerization of ∈-caprolactone, and vice versa, is demonstrated by the synthesis of a variety of well-defined block copolymers. For example, from a hydroxy-functionalized alkoxyamine, either the living ring opening polymerization of ∈-caprolactone, or the "living" free radical polymerization of styrene can be performed leading to narrow polydispersity polymeric initiators. These polymeric initiators can then be used to initiate the living polymerization of the other monomer system without the need for intermediate steps. In a similar way, hydroxy-functionalized ATRP initiators can be used as bifunctional initiators for the polymerization of both ∈-caprolactone and a variety of other vinyl monomers. The novel block copolymers that are obtained were shown to have low polydispersities and controllable molecular weights for both of the blocks.