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How good is CuAAC “click” chemistry for polymer coupling reactions? Part A Polymer chemistry

Leophairatana, Porakrit, De Silva, Chathuranga C., Koberstein, Jeffrey T.
Journal of polymer science 2018 v.56 no.1 pp. 75-84
alkynes, azides, cycloaddition reactions, models, molecular weight, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, polymerization, polystyrenes
¹H NMR and SEC analyses are used to investigate the overall efficiency of Copper Catalyzed Azide Alkyne Cycloaddition (CuAAC) “click” coupling reactions between alkyne‐ and azide‐terminated polymers using polystyrene as a model. Quantitative convolution modeling of the entire molecular weight distribution is applied to characterize the outcomes of the functional polymer synthesis reactions (i.e., by atom transfer radical polymerization), as well as the CuAAC coupling reaction. Incomplete functionality of the azide‐terminated polystyrene (∼92%) proves to be the largest factor compromising the efficacy of the CuAAC coupling reaction and is attributed primarily to the loss of terminal bromide functionality during its synthesis. The efficiency of the SN2 reaction converting bromide to azide was found to be about 99%. After taking into account the influence of non‐functional polymer, we find that, under the reaction conditions used, the efficiency of the CuAAC coupling reaction determined from both techniques is about 94%. These inefficiencies compromise the fidelity and potential utility of CuAAC coupling reactions for the synthesis of hierarchically structured polymers. While CuAAC efficiency is expected to depend on the specific reaction conditions used, the framework described for determining reaction efficiency does provide a means for ultimately optimizing the reaction conditions for CuAAC coupling reactions. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2018, 56, 75–84