Stereoretentive Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization to Access All-cis Poly(p-phenylene vinylene)s with Living Characteristics

Poly(p-phenylene vinylene)s (PPVs), a staple of the conductive polymer family, consist of alternating alkene and phenyl groups in conjugation. The physical properties of this organic material are intimately linked to the cis/trans configuration of the alkene groups. While many synthetic methods afford PPVs with alltrans stereochemistry, very few deliver the all-cis congeners. We report herein the first synthesis of all-cis PPVs with living characteristics via stereoretentive ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP). Exquisite catalyst control allows for the preparation of homopolymers or diblock copolymers with perfect stereoselectivity, narrow dispersities, and predictable molecular weights. All-cis PPVs can then serve as light-responsive polymers through clean photoisomerization of the stilbenoid units.