Highly controlled open vessel RAFT polymerizations by enzyme degassing
Chapman R., Gormley AJ., Herpoldt KL., Stevens MM.
Intolerance to oxygen is a key limitation in many reactions and particularly in controlled radical polymerizations. Here we introduce the use of enzymes such as glucose oxidase (GOx) to deoxygenate reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerizations (Enz-RAFT), facilitating the preparation of highly controlled polymers in vessels open to ambient oxygen. Because the removal of oxygen is so efficient, very low concentrations of GOx and initiator can be used, enabling excellent control which is demonstrated by pseudoliving polymerization kinetics and the preparation of multiblock copolymers with narrow molecular weight distributions (Mw/Mn < 1.15). GOx retains sufficient activity to facilitate polymerization not only in aqueous solutions but also in a range of water/organic solvent mixtures, and we demonstrate the use of this technique to perform open vessel Enz-RAFT polymerizations in various methanol and dioxane/water mixtures.