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Keywords:

  • step-growth polymerization;
  • Suzuki cross-coupling;
  • poly(arylene)s;
  • synthesis;
  • palladium;
  • nickel

Abstract

This article describes the successful transfer of the Suzuki cross-coupling (SCC) reaction to polymer synthesis, one of the major developments within the last decade of polymer synthesis. The polymers prepared by Suzuki polycondensation (SPC) and its Ni-catalyzed reductive counterpart are soluble and processable poly(arylene)s that, because of their rigid and conjugated backbones, are of interest for the materials sciences. Achievable molar masses easily compete with those of traditional polyesters and polyamides. This article also provides insight into some synthetic problems associated with the transfer of SCC from low molar mass organic chemistry to high molar mass polymer chemistry by addressing issues such as monomer purity, stoichiometric balance, achievable molar masses, and defects in the polymer structure. Although the emphasis of this article is synthetic and structural issues, some potential applications of the polyarylenes obtained are briefly mentioned. Together with the enormous developments in the areas of metallocene, ring-opening metathesis, and acyclic diene metathesis polymerization, the success of SPC impressingly underlines the increasing importance of transition-metal-catalyzed CC-bond-forming reactions in polymer synthesis. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Polym Sci A: Polym Chem 39: 1533–1556, 2001