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Pure Appl. Chem., 2013, Vol. 85, No. 3, pp. 573-587

Published online 2012-08-12

Catalyst-transfer condensation polymerization for precision synthesis of π-conjugated polymers

Tsutomu Yokozawa*, Yutaka Nanashima, Haruhiko Kohno, Ryosuke Suzuki, Masataka Nojima and Yoshihiro Ohta

Department of Materials and Life Chemistry, Kanagawa University, Rokkakubashi, Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama 221-8686, Japan

Abstract: Catalyst-transfer condensation polymerization, in which the catalyst activates the polymer end-group, followed by reaction with the monomer and transfer of the catalyst to the elongated polymer end-group, has made it feasible to control the molecular weight, polydispersity, and end-groups of π-conjugated polymers. In this paper, our recent progress of Kumada–Tamao Ni catalyst-transfer coupling polymerization and Suzuki–Miyaura Pd catalyst-transfer coupling polymerization is described. In the former polymerization method, the polymerization of Grignard pyridine monomers was investigated for the synthesis of well-defined n-type π-conjugated polymers. Para-type pyridine monomer, 3‑alkoxy-2-bromo-5-chloromagnesiopyridine, afforded poly(pyridine-2,5-diyl) with low solubility in the reaction solvent, whereas meta-type pyridine monomer, 2-alkoxy-5-bromo-3-chloromagnesio-pyridine, yielded soluble poly(pyridine-3,5-diyl) with controlled molecular weight and low polydispersity. In Suzuki–Miyaura catalyst-transfer coupling polymerization, t‑Bu3PPd(Ph)Br was an effective catalyst, and well-defined poly(p-phenylene) and poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) were obtained by concomitant use of CsF/18-crown-6 as a base in tetrahydrofuran (THF) and a small amount of water.