Molecular Weight Control via Cross Metathesis in Photo‐Redox Mediated Ring‐Opening Metathesis Polymerization

Photo-redox mediated ring-opening metathesis polymerization (photo-ROMP) is an emerging ROMP technique that uses an organic redox mediator and a vinyl ether initiator, in contrast to metal-based initiators traditionally used in ROMP. The reversibility of the redox-mediated initiation and propagation steps enable spatiotemporal control over the polymerization. Herein, we explore a simple, inexpensive means of controlling molecular weight, using alpha olefins as chain transfer agents. This method enables access to low molecular weight oligomers, and molecular weights between 1 and 30 kDa can be targeted simply by altering the stoichiometry of the reaction. This method of molecular weight control was then used to synthesize a functionalized norbornene copolymer in a range of molecular weights for specific materials applications.

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