New Polymers Survive a Loss of Protection

New Polymers Survive a Loss of Protection

Materials Science, processes
JACS Spotlights, Feb. 9, 2022 Sulfur-containing organic molecules called thiols and thiocatechols are used in a variety of reactions involving the formation of disulfide bonds, coupling to double and triple bonds, and attachments to metal surfaces. In contrast, their polymer counterparts, thiophenol-pendant and dithiocatechol-pendant polymers, tend to oxidize and form disulfide-cross-linked networks. This renders them insoluble in organic solvents, which in turn limits their practical application. Catechol-pendant polymers, their oxygen-containing counterparts, oxidize much slower, and they readily form coatings, adhesives, and self-healing materials. Jincai Li, Joseph Richardson, and Hirotaka Ejima recently reported the use of a protection–deprotection strategy that enabled them to synthesize the thiophenol-pendant polymer poly(4-thiostyrene), as well as the first synthesis of a dithiocatechol-pendant polymer─poly(3,4-dithiostyrene)─and the copolymer poly(3,4-dithiostyrene-co-styrene) (DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c11479). Unlike former efforts at protection–deprotection synthesis, the deprotection…
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