Polymers containing –SO2– connectors are nearly absent from the literature and hardly used in industrial applications, although they are of interest for drugs, plastics, and new smart materials.
K. Barry Sharpless, Valery V. Fokin, and collegaues, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA, have developed a simple and straightforward sulfur(VI) fluoride exchange (SuFEx)-based method for the synthesis of high-molecular-weight polysulfate polymers from aryl fluorosulfates and aryl silyl ethers under simple and mild reaction conditions. The reaction is fast and proceeds well under neat conditions or in solvents, such as dimethyl formamide or N-methylpyrrolidone. The desired polymers are obtained in nearly quantitative yield. They are more resistant to chemical degradation than their polycarbonate analogues and exhibit excellent mechanical, optical, and oxygen-barrier properties.
The researchers, while further investigating the mechanism of this process and its applications, think that their reaction will find immediate applications across a variety of disciplines.