Synthesis and Characterization of Tetraphenylethylene-Methacrylate-Based (Co)Polymers Using Controlled Radical Polymerization

  • Albaraa Kamal

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Aggregation-induced emission (AIE) is a phenomenon with many applications, such as chemical sensors, biological probes, immunoassay markets, and active layers in fabricating organic light-emitting diodes. AIE materials in polymers can enhance the emissivity of such materials while having the benefits of polymeric materials. This thesis examines the use of AIE polymers to study the effect of structure on the properties. This is done by first synthesizing a monomer with AIE characteristics, tetraphenylethylene-methacrylate (TPEMA). Secondly, polymerizing TPEMA using free and controlled radical polymerizations. Finally, the copolymerization of TPEMA with methyl methacrylate (MMA) to understand the effect of spaced-out TPE groups in the polymer chain on the photoluminescence of the polymer. The structures of all intermediates and final products were characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and size exclusion chromatography (SEC). The AIE characteristics were proven and compared using the photoluminescence graphs, showing that the homopolymer had increased emission intensity than its monomer. The copolymer had higher emission intensity than TPEMA and higher normalized emission intensity than that of the homopolymer, showing the effect of structure on the photoluminescence. Both the homopolymer and the copolymer were easier to aggregate than the monomer, making it more effective to utilize the material in applications where it needs to be emissive in diluted solutions. The glass transition temperature and the tacticity of the homopolymer and copolymer were also compared. The thesis is divided into the following five chapters; 1. Introduction, where a brief background along with the scope of the thesis is provided; 2. Literature Review, where a summary of controlled radical polymerization and AIE is given; 3. Experimental Section, where the materials' detailed procedure and characterization are provided; 4. Results and Discussion, where results of successful experiments are discussed; 5. Concluding Remarks, where the results are summarized, and future work is discussed.
Date of AwardJan 2023
Original languageEnglish (US)
SupervisorNikos Hadjichristidis (Supervisor)


  • Aggregation-induced emission
  • ATRP
  • RAFT polymerization

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