Ring-opening polymerization of ε-caprolactone with a divalent samarium bis(phosphido) complex



The ring-opening polymerization of ε-caprolactone initiated with a divalent samarium bis(phosphido) complex [Sm(PPh2)2] is reported. The polymerization proceeded under mild reaction conditions and resulted in polyesters with number-average molecular weights of 8.2 × 103 to 12.5 × 103. The yield and molecular weight of poly(ε-caprolactone)s were dependent on the experimental parameters, such as the monomer/initiator molar ratio, the monomer concentration, the reaction temperature, and the polymerization time. The obtained polymers were characterized with Fourier transform infrared, NMR, gel permeation chromatography, and differential scanning calorimetry. On the basis of an end-group analysis of low-molecular-weight polymers by NMR spectroscopy, a coordination–insertion mechanism is proposed for the polymerization. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 98: 1558–1564, 2005