POLYMER CHEMISTRY

Photoinitiation with boron clusters

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Science  17 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6292, pp. 1422-1423
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6292.1422-e

Nonmetallic photoinitiators of polymerization are gaining interest for biomedical and electronics applications in which metal compounds are toxic or their presence reduces performance. Messina et al. report on boron clusters [B12(OR)12, where R is a phenyl or pentafluorophenyl group] that act as photoinitiators with blue light for the polymerization of olefins. These compounds photoionize and can initiate the reaction via one-electron transfer (creating a cluster radical anion and a monomer radical cation) to both electron-rich and electron-deficient styrene monomers at very low loadings (0.005 mol %). Even monomers such as isobutylene yielded highly branched polymers when the highly electron-withdrawing fluorinated initiator was used.

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 10.1021/jacs.6b03568 (2016).

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