Dimerization of Poly(methyl methacrylate) Chains Using Radical Trap-Assisted Atom Transfer Radical Coupling
End-brominated poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMABr) was prepared by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and employed in a series of atom transfer radical coupling (ATRC) and radical trap-assisted ATRC (RTA-ATRG) reactions. When coupling reactions were performed in the absence of a nitroso radical trap-traditional ATRC condition-very little coupling of the PMMA chains was observed, consistent with disproportionation as the major termination pathway for two PMMA chain-end radicals in our reactions. When 2-methyl-2-nitrosopropane (MNP) was used as the radical trap, coupling of the PMMA chains in this attempted RTA-ATRC reaction was again unsuccessful, owing to capping of the PMMA chains with a bulky nitroxide and preventing further coupling. Analogous reactions performed using nitrosobenzene (NBz) as the radical trap showed significant dimerization, as observed by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) by a shift in the apparent molecular weight compared to the PMMABr precursors. The extent of coupling was found to depend on the concentrion of NBz compared to the PMMABr chain ends, as well as the temperature and time of the coupling reaction. To a lesser extent, the concentrations of copper(I) bromide (CuBr), nitrogen ligand (N,N,N',N',N"-pentamethyldiethylenetriamine = PMDETA), and elemental copper (Cu) were also found to play a role in the success of the RTA-ATRC reaction. The highest levels of dimerization were observed when the coupling reaction was carried out at 80 degrees C for 0.5h, with ratio of 1:4:2.5:8:1 equiv of NBz: CuBr:Cu:PMDETA:PMMABr.
Valente, Christopher J.; Schellenberger, Autumn M.; and Tillman, Eric. "Dimerization of Poly(methyl methacrylate) Chains Using Radical Trap-Assisted Atom Transfer Radical Coupling." Macromolecules (2014) : 2226-2232.