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Keywords:

  • biocompatibility;
  • polymer library;
  • postpolymerization modification;
  • reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization;
  • water-soluble polymers

Abstract

This article explores the feasibility of poly(pentafluorophenyl methacrylate) (PPFMA) prepared by reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization as a platform for the preparation of diverse libraries of functional polymers via postpolymerization modification with primary amines. Experiments with a broad range of functional amines and PPFMA precursors of different molecular weights indicated that the postpolymerization modification reaction proceeds with good to excellent conversion for a diverse variety of functional amines and is essentially independent of the PPFMA precursor molecular weight. The RAFT end group, which was well preserved throughout the polymerization, is cleaved during postpolymerization modification to generate a thiol end group that provides possibilities for further orthogonal chain-end modification reactions. The degree of postpolymerization modification can be controlled by varying the relative amount of primary amine that is used and random polymethacrylamide copolymers can be prepared via a one-pot/two-step sequential addition procedure. Cytotoxicity experiments revealed that the postpolymerization modification strategy does not lead to any additional toxicity compared with the corresponding polymer obtained via direct polymerization, which makes this approach also of interest for the synthesis of biologically active polymers. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 47: 4332–4345, 2009