Atom transfer radical polymerisation - towards the synthesis of a fully-functional photorefractive polymer
Atom transfer radical polymerisation (ATRP) of styrene in xylene solution initiated with 1-phenylethyl bromide and mediated by CuBr/N-propyl-2- pyridinemethanimine catalyst complex was studied. The polymerisation was ill-controlled, yielding polymers with broad molecular weight distributions and values of number average molecular weight considerably higher than the theoretical values calculated from 100% initiator efficiency. The degree of control afforded over the polymerisation was enhanced by use of a more soluble catalyst complex, CuBr/N-octyl-2-pyridinemethanimine. Furthermore, the use of a more polar solvent, diglyme, generated a homogeneous catalyst complex that facilitated the production of polymers having narrow molecular weight distributions (1.10 < PDi < 1.20). The kinetics of the atom transfer radical polymerisation of methyl methacrylate at 90°C in diglyme solution initiated with ethyl-2-bromoisobutyrate and mediated by CuBr/N-octyl-2-pyridinemethanimine was studied and the orders of the reaction were established. The effect on the rate of polymerisation of the ratio of CuBr:N-octyl-2-pyridinemethanimine was also determined. The temperature dependencies of the rate of polymerisation of methyl methacrylate in diglyme solution and xylene solution were studied, and were found to be non-linear and dependent upon the polarity of the solvent. The use of highly polar aprotic solvents, such as N,N-dimethylformamide and dimethylsulphoxide, was found to be detrimental to the degree of control afforded over the polymerisation of methyl methacrylate. This was circumvented by use of a 5-fold excess, over that conventionally used, of catalyst complex. The atom transfer radical polymerisation of (4-nitrophenyl)-[3-[N-[2- (methacryloyloxy)ethyl]carbazolyl]]diazene in dimethyl sulphoxide solution was studied. Although homopolymerisation yielded only oligomers, copolymerisation of this monomer with methyl methacrylate was found to be readily achievable.