Encapsulation of Functional Moieties within Branched Star Polymers:  Effect of Chain Length and Solvent on Site Isolation

Porphyrin and pyrene photoactive cores have been encapsulated within an isolating polymeric shell using an efficient and general strategy based on the use of dendritic initiators for the ring-opening polymerization of ε-caprolactone to yield functional core star polymers. The isolation of the core functionalities has been studied using fluorescence quenching and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) techniques as well as solvatochromic probes. With increasing chain length as well as solvent polarity, enhanced site isolation of the core has been observed. These findings have been correlated to actual molecular dimensions independently measured by pulsed field gradient spin−echo (PGSE) NMR. The developed synthetic methodology offers a rapid route to efficient encapsulation of functional moieties and therefore has potential for the design of new materials.