Polymer synthesis

Polymer synthesis, also called polymerization, is the process by which monomers (small molecules) are covalently bonded to form a (usually long) polymer chain or network.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Low-molecular-weight, highly branched polyethylenes are attractive candidates for synthetic lubricants, but their efficient production is constrained by a lack of effective catalytic methods. While conventional group IV transition metal catalysts produce diverse polyethylenes on a huge scale, they are unable to produce highly branched polyethylenes. Here a hydrocarbon-soluble organozirconium precatalyst and borate cocatalyst produce the desired polyethylenes with excellent activity and branch selectivity.

    • Yanshan Gao
    • , Jiazhen Chen
    • , Yang Wang
    • , David B. Pickens
    • , Alessandro Motta
    • , Q. Jane Wang
    • , Yip-Wah Chung
    • , Tracy L. Lohr
    •  & Tobin J. Marks
  • Protocols |

    This protocol describes an approach for super-resolution imaging by 10× physical expansion of the samples (X10 microscopy). In addition, the authors provide guidelines for determining the expansion and distortion factors.

    • Sven Truckenbrodt
    • , Christoph Sommer
    • , Silvio O. Rizzoli
    •  & Johann G. Danzl
  • Research | | open

    Inverse vulcanization allows stable polymers to be made from elemental sulfur, but development is restricted by cross-linkers and the elevated temperatures required. Here the authors report a catalytic method for a wide range of cross-linkers and found a reduced reaction temperature and reaction time is required.

    • Xiaofeng Wu
    • , Jessica A. Smith
    • , Samuel Petcher
    • , Bowen Zhang
    • , Douglas J. Parker
    • , John M. Griffin
    •  & Tom Hasell
  • Research | | open

    Ferroelectric polymers are key building blocks for flexible electronic devices, but lack functionality and ability to tune their ferroelectric response. Here the authors show a method to introduce functionality in ferroelectric polymers while preserving ferroelectricity and tune the ferroelectric response by incorporating insulating polymer chains.

    • Ivan Terzic
    • , Niels L. Meereboer
    • , Mónica Acuautla
    • , Giuseppe Portale
    •  & Katja Loos
  • Research |

    Hydrogen atom transfer processes are commonly encountered in chemical and biological systems. Here the authors report a redox-neutral hydrogen atom transfer through the activation of hydrosilanes with a Lewis base. Further, they demonstrate that this initial step can be directed towards hydrosilylation or polymerization depending on the choice of catalyst.

    • Parham Asgari
    • , Yuanda Hua
    • , Apparao Bokka
    • , Chanachon Thiamsiri
    • , Watcharapon Prasitwatcharakorn
    • , Ashif Karedath
    • , Xin Chen
    • , Sinjinee Sardar
    • , Kyungsuk Yum
    • , Gyu Leem
    • , Brad S. Pierce
    • , Kwangho Nam
    • , Jiali Gao
    •  & Junha Jeon
    Nature Catalysis 2, 164-173

News and Comment

  • Research Highlights |

    Mechanical gating of a photochemical reaction has been realized by constructing a norbornene that, when subjected to tensile stress, undergoes fission into a UV-light-sensitive diarylethene.

    • David Schilter
  • News and Views |

    Control over the length and composition of polymers is key to controlling their properties. Now, a photoswitchable catalyst is shown to allow external control over reaction rates, chain lengths and even polymer composition in ring-opening polymerizations.

    • Paula K. Kuroishi
    •  & Andrew P. Dove
    Nature Catalysis 1, 486-487
  • News and Views |

    Using infrared light to control the outcome of a chemical reaction is problematic in solution because of numerous interactions and non-specific sample heating. Now, condensed-phase results showing the vibrational enhancement of an otherwise thermally driven reaction may reinvigorate discussion of the practical applications of vibrational control.

    • Amanda S. Case
    Nature Chemistry 10, 113-114
  • News and Views |

    Microporous membranes were designed from the loose packing of two-dimensional polymer chains — a breakthrough giving both ultrahigh permeability and good selectivity for gas separations.

    • Yan Yin
    •  & Michael D. Guiver
    Nature Materials 16, 880-881