© 2016 American Chemical Society. Zwitterionic ring-opening polymerization (ZROP) of N-butyl N-carboxyanhydrides (Bu-NCAs) has been investigated using 1,8-diazabicycloundec-7-ene (DBU), a bicyclic amidine initiator. It was found that poly(N-butylglycine)s (PNBGs) with molecular weight (Mn) in the 3.5-32.4 kg mol-1 range and polydispersity index (PDI) in the 1.02-1.12 range can be readily obtained by systematically varying the initial monomer to initiator feed ratio. The polymerization exhibits characteristics of a controlled polymerization, as evidenced by the linear increase of polymer molecular weight with conversion and the successful enchainment experiments. Kinetic studies revealed that the reaction is first-order dependent on the monomer and the DBU concentration. The rate of initiation is comparable to that of the propagation. Random copolypeptoids of poly[(N-propargylglycine)-r-(N-butylglycine)]s [P(NPgG-r-NBG)s] were also synthesized by DBU-mediated copolymerization of Bu-NCA and N-propargyl N-carboxyanhydride (Pg-NCA). Subsequent grafting with azido-terminated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) produces bottlebrush copolymers. Analysis of bottlebrush copolymer samples using atomic force microscopy (AFM) revealed a surface morphology of toroid-shaped nanostructures, consistent with the polypeptoid backbone having cyclic architecture. Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) characterization of the bottlebrush polymer ensemble in solution also confirms the cyclic architecture of the polypeptoid backbones.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Li, A., Lu, L., Li, X., He, L., Do, C., Garno, J., & Zhang, D. (2016). Amidine-Mediated Zwitterionic Ring-Opening Polymerization of N-Alkyl N-Carboxyanhydride: Mechanism, Kinetics, and Architecture Elucidation. Macromolecules, 49 (4), 1163-1171. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.macromol.5b02611