Retraction of: Nature Chemistry, published online 10 August 2015.

We the authors are retracting this Article because of our failure to reproduce the molecular weight dispersities (PDI) shown in Fig. 4 using the chain-transfer agent described in the paper (CTA1). While the degenerate chain-transfer mechanism described in Fig. 3 is correct, the best molecular weight dispersities that could be reproduced with the chain-transfer agent shown in the Article are much larger (PDI > 2.0) than reported.

We have since studied the kinetics of CTA1 in comparison with several other chain-transfer agents we are currently investigating and we now understand that the reactivity of CTA1 towards propagating ruthenium alkylidene complexes is very low. Very long monomer addition times would therefore have been necessary to gain control over the molecular weight distribution. Such long addition times would exceed the lifetime of the Grubbs catalyst in solution. Faster addition of the monomer has since repeatedly been shown to broaden the molecular weight dispersity.

Additionally, the best chain-transfer agents we are currently investigating are orders of magnitude more reactive than CTA1 but give broader molecular weight dispersities than reported in Fig. 4. Molecular weight and dispersity control as shown in Fig. 4 is therefore an inappropriate claim for CTA1.

The authors deeply regret these errors and apologize to the community.