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Keywords:

  • functionalization of polymers;
  • hyperbranched;
  • polycondensation;
  • polyesters

Abstract

1,3-Dipolar cycloaddition of an organic azide and an acetylenic unit, often referred to as the “click reaction”, has become an important ligation tool both in the context of materials chemistry and biology. Thus, development of simple approaches to directly generate polymers that bear either an azide or an alkyne unit has gained considerable importance. We describe here a straightforward approach to directly prepare linear and hyperbranched polyesters that carry terminal propargyl groups. To achieve the former, we designed an AB-type monomer that carries a hydroxyl group and a propargyl ester, which upon self-condensation under standard transesterification conditions yielded a polyester that carries a single propargyl group at one of its chain-ends. Similarly, an AB2 type monomer that carries one hydroxyl group and two propargyl ester groups, when polymerized under the same conditions yielded a hyperbranched polymer with numerous “clickable” propargyl groups at its molecular periphery. These propargyl groups can be readily clicked with different organic azides, such as benzyl azide, ω-azido heptaethyleneglycol monomethylether or 9-azidomethyl anthracene. When an anthracene chromophore is clicked, the molecular weight of the linear polyester could be readily estimated using both UV–visible and fluorescence spectroscopic measurements. Furthermore, the reactive propargyl end group could also provide an opportunity to prepare block copolymers in the case of linear polyesters and to generate nanodimensional scaffolds to anchor a variety of functional units, in the case of the hyperbranched polymer. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 48: 3200–3208, 2010