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Keywords:

  • biomaterials;
  • biomimetic;
  • cyclic polymers;
  • living polymerization;
  • multiblock copolymers;
  • nonfouling;
  • precision polymers;
  • solid phase synthesis;
  • surface initiated polymerization

ABSTRACT

Precision synthesis of polymers has been a hot topic in recent years. While this is notoriously difficult to address for polymers with a C[BOND]C backbone, Merrifield has discovered a way many decades ago for polypeptides. Using a similar approach, N-substituted polypeptides, so-called polypeptoids have been synthesized and studied for about 20 years. In contrast, the living ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of N-substituted N-carboxyanhydrides was among the first living polymerizations to be discovered. More recently, a surge in new synthetic approaches led to the efficient synthesis of cyclic or linear multiblock copolypeptoids. Thus, polypeptoids can be synthesized either by solid phase synthesis to yield complex and exactly defined oligo- and small polymers or by ROP of appropriately N-substituted N-carboxyanhydrides (NNCA) to give linear, cyclic, or star-like polymers. Together with an excellent biocompatibility, this polymer family may have a bright future ahead as biomaterials. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2013, 51, 2731–2752