On the photopolymerization of mevalonic lactone methacrylate: exposing the potential of an overlooked monomer†
Functional polymers remain at the core of polymer science in the second century of macromolecular material research. Lactones are known as monomers for ring-opening polymerizations; however, polymers containing lactone rings as pendant groups are rare. In this study, we revive an overlooked monomer, mevalonic lactone methacrylate, by demonstrating its radical polymerization, reporting the properties of the polymer product, and providing information on the thermal, UV, and hydrolytic stabilities of both the monomer and polymer. Controlled polymerization (via RAFT) provides synthetic precision and active terminal groups; thus, the formation of a simple block copolymer based on the aforementioned polymer is presented. The pendant ring accepts nucleophilic attacks, so the initially hydrophobic polymer can be altered to make it hydrophilic via reactions with nucleophiles in just seconds. Thus, the polymer film provides responsive surface formation.