Discovery of an Anionic Polymerization Mechanism for High Molecular Weight PPV Derivatives via the Sulfinyl Precursor Route

Inge Cosemans, Lieve Hontis, David Van Den Berghe, Arne Palmaerts, Jimmy Wouters, Thomas J. Cleij, Laurence Lutsen, Wouter Maes, Thomas Junkers, Dirk J. M. Vanderzande*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The polymerization of PPV via the sulfinyl precursor route has been investigated with respect to its mechanism. When polymerized in sec-butanol, a purely radical polymerization mechanism is observed as in most precursor polymerization routes. Accordingly, an increase in the reaction temperature induced an increase in the overall yield alongside with a reduction of the average molecular weight of the polymer. Upon changing the monomer concentration in solution before addition of the base NatBuO, an increase in molecular weight is observed, signifying that the polymerization is faster than the mixing of the two reaction components. When changing the solvent to NMP, a competition of anionic and radical polymerization has been established while in THF an anionic polymerization mechanism occurs exclusively. To prevent termination reactions, LDA and LHMDS were introduced as base whereby LHMDS shows less propensity to initiate anionic chain growth due to higher steric hindrance. With polymerizations in presence of the radical quencher TEMPO, the anionic polymerization mechanism could unambiguously be proven.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7610-7616
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

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