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By Edited by Gerald Ondrey |

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Polyesters Customizing the macroscale properties of polyesters by using sidechain chemical groups is difficult, and is limited for commercially available polyesters. Now, researchers at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Va.; www.vt.edu) have developed a novel method for synthesizing polyesters that may expand the range of available properties for polyesters. The Virginia Tech team’s chemistry, known as photoredox ring-opening polymerization, has the potential to synthesize polyesters with highly controlled stereochemistry and narrow molecular weight distributions. Further, a wide range of sidechains can be introduced, allowing the polyesters to be used in applications such as plastic engineering and biomedical drug delivery systems. The chemistry begins with O-carboxyanhydrides, five-membered rings with attached functional groups. Using a photoredox nickel-iridium catalyst combined with a zinc-alkoxide, the carboxyanhydrides undergo a ring-opening polymerization reaction, forming a polymer backbone that contains the desired sidechain.  
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