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Science. 2002 Sep 20;297(5589):2041-4.

An "endless" route to cyclic polymers.

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  • 1Arnold and Mabel Beckman Laboratories of Chemical Synthesis, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.

Abstract

A new synthetic route to cyclic polymers has been developed in which the ends of growing polymer chains remain attached to a metal complex throughout the entire polymerization process. The approach eliminates the need for linear polymeric precursors and high dilution, drawbacks of traditional macrocyclization strategies, and it effectively removes the barrier to producing large quantities of pure cyclic material. Ultimately, the strategy offers facile access to a unique macromolecular scaffold that may be used to meet the increasing demand of new applications for commercial polymers. As a demonstration of its potential utility, cyclic polyethylenes were prepared and found to exhibit a variety of physical properties that were distinguishable from their linear analogs.

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