American Chemical Society
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Synthesis and Characterization of Linear-Dendron-like Poly(ε-caprolactone)-b-poly(ethylene oxide) Copolymers via the Combination of Ring-Opening Polymerization and Click Chemistry

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-09-23, 00:00 authored by Chong Hua, Song-Ming Peng, Chang-Ming Dong
A new class of linear-dendron-like poly(ε-caprolactone)-b-poly(ethylene oxide) (PCL-b-PEO) copolymers with unsymmetrical topology was synthesized via controlled ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of ε-caprolactone (CL) followed by a click conjugation with azide-terminated PEO (PEO-N3). The dendron-like PCL terminated with a clickable alkyne group (Dm-PCL, m = 0, 1, 2, and 3) was for the first time synthesized from the ROP of CL monomer using a propargyl focal point dendrons Dm with primary amine groups as the initiators and stannous octoate as catalyst in bulk at 130 °C. Then, the linear-dendron-like Dm-PCL-b-PEO copolymers were obtained by the click conjugation of Dm-PCL with PEO-N3 using PMDETA/CuBr as catalyst in DMF solution at 35 °C. Their molecular structures and physical properties were in detail characterized by FT-IR, NMR, MALLS-GPC, DSC, and WAXD. Both DLS and TEM analyses demonstrated that the biodegradable micelles and vesicles with different sizes (less than 100 nm) self-assembled from these Dm-PCL-b-PEO copolymers in aqueous solution, and both the PEO composition and the linear-dendron-like architecture of copolymers controlled the morphology and the average size of nanoparticles. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that describes the synthesis of linear-dendron-like PCL-b-PEO block copolymers via the combination of ROP and click chemistry. Consequently, this provides a versatile strategy not only for the synthesis of biodegradable and amphiphilic block copolymers with linear-dendron-like architecture but also for fabricating biocompatible nanoparticles with suitable size for controlled drug release.