H. Zhang, Z. Zhang, Y. Gnanou, N. Hadjichristidis
Macromolecules, 48 (11), 3556-3562, (2015)
Novel well-defined polyethylene-based random, block, and bilayered molecular cobrushes were synthesized through the macromonomer strategy. Two steps were involved in this approach: (i) synthesis of norbornyl-terminated macromonomers of polyethylene (PE), polycaprolactone (PCL), poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO), and polystyrene (PS), as well as polyethylene-b-polycaprolactone (PE-b-PCL), by esterification of the hydroxyl-terminated precursors (PE, PCL, PEO, PS, and PE-b-PCL) with 5-norbornene-2-carboxylic acid and (ii) ring-opening metathesis (co)polymerization of the resulting macromonomers to afford the PE-based molecular cobrushes. The PE-macromonomers were synthesized by polyhomologation of dimethylsulfoxonium methylide, while the others by anionic polymerization. Proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H NMR) and high-temperature gel permeation chromatography (HT-GPC) were used to imprint the molecular characteristics of all macromonomers and molecular brushes and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) for the thermal properties. The bilayered molecular cobrushes of P(PE-b-PCL) adopt a wormlike morphology on silica wafer as visualized by atomic force microscopy (AFM).