Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.141, No.34, 13619-13624, 2019
Norbornadienes: Robust and Scalable Building Blocks for Cascade "Click" Coupling of High Molecular Weight Polymers
Herein, we report the development of a scalable and synthetically robust building block based on norbornadiene (NBD) that can be broadly incorporated into a variety of macromolecular architectures using traditional living polymerization techniques. By taking advantage of a selective and rapid deprotection with tetrazine, highly reactive "masked" cyclopentadiene (Cp) functionalities can be introduced into synthetic polymers as chain-end groups in a quantitative and efficient manner. The orthogonality of this platform further enables a cascade "click" process where the "unmasked" Cp can rapidly react with dienophiles, such as maleimides, through a conventional Diels-Alder reaction. Coupling proceeds with quantitative conversions allowing high molecular weight star and dendritic block copolymers to be prepared in a single step under ambient conditions.