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Chem Asian J. 2013 Sep;8(9):2003-14. doi: 10.1002/asia.201300297. Epub 2013 May 31.

Remarkable structure effects on chiroptical properties of polyisocyanides carrying proline pendants.

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Lab of Polymer Synthesis, Department of Polymer Materials, Shanghai University, Nanchen Street 333, Shanghai 200444, PR China.


Chiral polymers with simple chemical structures and high helical conformation stabilities are important for their applications as chiral supports and asymmetrical catalysts. We report herein the synthesis of a series of aliphatic polyisocyanides carrying proline pendants of different chiralities, and an investigation of the effects of the chemical structures of these pendants on the chiroptical properties of the polymers. The configuration of the chiral center at the 4-position of the proline pendants was changed from S to R to check its effect on the handedness of the helical conformation. To examine the effects of steric hindrance on the stabilities of the helical conformation for these aliphatic representatives, proline pendants with various substituents at both the carboxyl and amine terminals were designed. To further examine the steric effects of the proline pendants, aromatic counterparts were also prepared. In the latter case, the effects of hydrogen bonds between pendant units on the enhancement and stabilities of the helical conformation were investigated by switching from the ester to an amide linkage. The Cotton effects and signal intensities of both aliphatic and aromatic polyisocyanides from circular dichroism spectroscopy were compared based on the bulkiness of the pendant groups, solvent polarities, and solution temperatures. It was found that highly stable helical conformations of polyisocyanides could be imposed by small bulky monoproline pendants.


chiroptical properties; helical structures; polyisocyanides; polymers; proline

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