Polymers with a diverse range of properties and applications can be prepared by tailoring polymer topology and composition. Among these polymer architectures, the preparation of graft copolymers has been intensely investigated. In this context, researchers at Warwick University reported on the synthesis and controlled ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of a six membered cyclic carbonate monomer with pendant reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) functionality. The growth of fast propagating monomers (methyl acrylate, tetrahydropyran acrylate and N-isopropylacrylamide) from the obtained RAFT-functional poly(carbonate)s resulted in the formation of well-defined graft copolymers with a biodegradable backbone. Importantly, control of solution and thermal properties was achieved through variation of graft length, grafting density and grafting monomer. In addition, the preparation and self-assembly of a PNiPAm graft copolymer provided a convenient route to novel thermoresponsive biodegradable micelles.
Degradable graft copolymers by ring-opening and reverseaddition–fragmentation chain transfer polymerization by Rebecca J. Williams, Rachel K. O’Reilly and Andrew P. Dove Polym. Chem. 2012, 3, 2156-2164.