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Keywords:

  • block copolymers;
  • living polymerization;
  • poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO);
  • poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM);
  • block copolymers;
  • reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT)

Abstract

Well-defined diblock and triblock copolymers composed of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) and poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) were successfully synthesized through the reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer polymerization of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) with PEO capped with one or two dithiobenzoyl groups as a macrotransfer agent. 1H NMR, Fourier transform infrared, and gel permeation chromatography instruments were used to characterize the block copolymers obtained. The results showed that the diblock and triblock copolymers had well-defined structures and narrow molecular weight distributions (weight-average molecular weight/number-average molecular weight < 1.2), and the molecular weight of the PNIPAM block in the diblock and triblock copolymers could be controlled by the initial molar ratio of NIPAM to dithiobenzoate-terminated PEO and the NIPAM conversion. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 42: 4873–4881, 2004