Cu(0)-mediated living radical polymerization: recent highlights and applications; a perspective
Cu(0)-mediated living radical polymerization or single electron transfer living radical polymerization (Cu(0)-mediated LRP or SET-LRP) is a versatile polymerization technique that has attracted considerable interest during the past few years for the facile preparation of advanced materials. Importantly, the scope of Cu(0)-mediated LRP has been significantly expanded to include the polymerization of a large variety of functional monomers (e.g. acrylates, methacrylates, acrylamides, methacrylamides, styrene etc.) in several solvents e.g. with the resulting polymers possessing narrow molecular weight distributions (MWDs), fast polymerization rates and very high end-group fidelity (even at quantitative conversions) as exemplified by sequential chain extensions and block copolymerizations. These characteristics render Cu(0)-mediated LRP an ideal candidate for the facile synthesis of complex architectures that have found use in a large diversity of applications including glycopolymers, gene delivery, foldamers, polymer–protein conjugates and many others.