Soluble Oligo- and Polyphenylenes


  • Prof. James M. Tour

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 29208 (USA)
    • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 29208 (USA)
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    • holds a B.S. degree in chemistryfrom Syracuse University (1981) and a Ph.D. from Purdue University awarded in 1986 for work on synthetic organometallic methodology and natural product synthesis carried out under the supervision of Professor E. Negishi. He served as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow under the guidance of Prof. Barry M. Trost at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and Stanford University before moving to the University of South Carolina in 1988, where he is presently an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His current research involves the synthesis of new conjugated oligomers and polymersfor electronic, photonic, and high-performance materials applications as well as exploration of fullerene chemistry.

  • Support of our program on polyphenylenes has been provided by the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation (EHR-91-08772, DMR-9158315), and generous industrial contributors to the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award Program (1991–96): Hercules, IBM, Ethyl, Shell, and Eli Lilly Corporations.


Soluble main chain phenylene polymers and oligomers are much less well studied than their intractable relative poly(p-Phenylene). This review considers the synthesis and properties of poly(o-phenylene)s, poly(m-phenylene)s, and substituted polyphenylenes with alkyle-, aryl-, carbonyle-, nitro-, halo-, fused aromatic, and ladder containing substituents, together with related compounds. The figure shows a planar polyphenylene derivative that can be obtained as a flexible free-standing film.

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