C1 Polymerization: a unique tool towards polyethylene-based complex macromolecular architectures

De Wang, Zhen Zhang, Nikos Hadjichristidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The recent developments in organoborane initiated C1 polymerization (chain grows by one atom at a time) of ylides opens unique horizons towards well-defined/perfectly linear polymethylenes (equivalent to polyethylenes, PE) and PE-based complex macromolecular architectures. The general mechanism of C1 polymerization (polyhomologation) involves the formation of a Lewis complex between a methylide (monomer) and a borane (initiator), followed by migration/insertion of a methylene into the initiator and after oxidation/hydrolysis to afford OH-terminated polyethylenes. This review summarizes efforts towards conventional and newly discovered borane-initiators and ylides (monomers), as well as a combination of polyhomologation with other polymerization methods. Initial efforts dealing with C3 polymerization and the synthesis of the first C1/C3 copolymers are also given. Finally, some thoughts for the future of these polymerizations are presented.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4062-4073
Number of pages12
JournalPolym. Chem.
Issue number28
StatePublished - 2017


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