Chirality science is related to life science, human health, material technology and national economy. Inspired by biological macromolecules (DNAs, proteins, etc.), scientists have found that chirality is also one of the basic characteristics of polymer materials.
Up to now, the research of chiral polymers is limited to natural chiral polymer materials. Difficulties in versatile synthesis and characterization of chiral polymers restrict their development in stereocontrol mechanism, structure-function relationship and material applications.
A research group in the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences proposed an "Asymmetric Kinetic Resolution Polymerization (AKRP)" strategy and utilized it for chiral polymers synthesis and characterization. The study was published in Coordination Chemistry Review.
In the AKRP process, one enantiomer reacts faster than the other and rapidly becomes part of the growing polymer chain, while the kinetically less reactive enantiomer remains unreactive and can be separated by simple purification.
During the polymerization process, conversion and enantiomeric excess (ee) of the starting monomer can be used to characterize the degree of chiral induction and overall chirality of the produced chiral polymers.
AKRP provides not only a synthesis approach, but also an enantioselective characterization method of chiral polymers. In addition, with selectivity factor as the probe, it offers a possibility to investigate the stereocontrol mechanism of asymmetric polymerization.
Researchers in this group are currently investigating new types of polymerization monomers and asymmetric catalytic polymerization systems, as well as the mechanistic study.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Taishan Scholars Program of Shandong Province, "135" Projects Fund of CAS-QIBEBT Director Innovation Foundation, and DICP & QIBEBT United Foundation.
Asymmetric Kinetic Resolution Polymerization (AKRP) (Image by XU Guangqiang)
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