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Surface- and Redox-Active Multifunctional Polyphenol-Derived Poly(ionic liquid)s: Controlled Synthesis and Characterization

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journal contribution
posted on 30.09.2016, 17:55 by Nagaraj Patil, Daniela Cordella, Abdelhafid Aqil, Antoine Debuigne, Shimelis Admassie, Christine Jérôme, Christophe Detrembleur
Combining the redox activity and remarkable adhesion propensity of polyphenols (such as catechol or pyrogallol) with the numerous tunable properties of poly­(ionic liquid)­s (PILs) is an attractive route to design inventive multifunctional macromolecular platforms. In this contribution, we describe the first synthesis of a novel family of structurally well-defined PILs functionalized with catechol/pyrogallol/phenol pendants by organometallic-mediated radical polymerization (OMRP) using an alkyl–cobalt­(III) complex as initiator and mediating agent. The living character of the chains is also exploited to produce di- and triblock PILs, and the facile counteranion exchange reactions afforded a library of PILs-bearing free phenol/catechol/pyrogallol moieties. Electrochemical investigations of catechol/pyrogallol-derived PILs in aqueous medium demonstrated the characteristic catechol to o-quinone transformations, whereas, quasi-reversible doping/undoping with supporting electrolyte cations (Li+/tetrabutyl­ammonium+) has been observed in organic media, suggesting a bright future for this new family of redox-active PILs as cathode material for secondary energy storage devices. Also, pendant catechol/pyrogallol groups mediated sustained anchoring onto the gold surface conferred PILs properties to the interface. As a proof-of-concept, both the adsorption and inhibition of proteins on polymer modified surfaces have been demonstrated in real time using the quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation technique. The exquisite physicochemical tunability of these innovative surface- and redox-active PILs makes them excellent candidates for a broad range of potential applications, including “smart surfaces” and electrochemical energy storage devices.