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Keywords:

  • iridium;
  • photochemistry;
  • photoredox catalysis;
  • ring-opening polymerization;
  • silyl radicals

Abstract

Iridium(III) complexes were designed and evaluated as efficient photoinitiators of polymerization reactions in combination with iodonium salts and silanes. Mechanistically, these reactions were shown to proceed through oxidative photoredox catalysis, generating aryl and silyl radicals under very soft irradiation conditions (blue LED, xenon lamp, and even sunlight). These radicals can initiate the free radical polymerization of acrylates or can be oxidized during the catalytic cycle to promote the ring-opening polymerization of epoxy monomers. Remarkably, both the (photo)chemical reactivity and the practical efficiency are dramatically affected by the ligands. In addition, the central role played by the oxidation ability of the excited state of the photocatalyst is discussed.