Observed Photoenhancement of RAFT Polymerizations under Fume Hood Lighting.

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Journal Article
ACS Macro Lett, 2016, 5, (11), pp. 1287-1292
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Given the recent findings of exogenous radical initiator/catalyst-free reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) radical polymerization under both UV and visible light irradiation, the effect of standard laboratory lighting conditions (fluorescent tube lights) on traditional RAFT reactions, that is, those conducted in the presence of a thermally activated radical initiator, remains unknown. This is investigated in the current study, where a significant "photoenhancement" is observed for most cases under typical RAFT reaction conditions, indicating that fume hood lights can contribute to the generation of radicals in RAFT reactions. Given the observed emission spectrum of a typical fluorescent light source, the photoenhancement is proposed to occur through a visible light activation pathway. These findings are crucial for ensuring maximum reproducibility of controlled polymerizations conducted in the presence of typical sources of irradiation encountered in a standard chemical laboratory.
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