Organocatalytic synthesis of quinine-functionalized poly(carbonate)s

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The ring-opening polymerization of substituted cyclic carbonates with 1-(3,5-bis-trifluoromethyl-phenyl)-3-cyclohexyl-thiourea (TU)/1,8- diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene (DBU) organocatalysts afford highly functionalized oligocarbonates. The fluorescent alkaloid quinine can be readily incorporated into the oligocarbonates either by initiation from quinine or by ring-opening polymerization of a quinine-functionalized cyclic carbonate (MTC-Q). Copolymerization of MTC-Q with a boc-protected guanidinium cyclic carbonate affords, after deprotection, highly water-soluble cationic copolymers functionalized with both quinine and pendant guanidinium groups. When multiple quinine groups are attached to the oligomers, they exhibit minimal fluorescence due to self-quenching. Upon hydrolysis, the fluorescence intensity increases, providing a potential strategy for monitoring the hydrolysis rates in real time. © 2012 American Chemical Society.