Photo-controlled living polymerization has received great attention in recent years. However, despite the great success therein, the report on photo-controlled living cationic polymerization has been greatly limited. We demonstrate here a novel decolorable, metal-free and visible light-controlled living cationic polymerization system by using tris(2,4-dimethoxyphenyl)methylium tetrafluoroborate as the photocatalyst and phosphate as the chain transfer agent (CTA) for polymerization of 4-methoxystyrene. This polymerization reaction under green LED light irradiation shows clear living characteristics including predictable molar mass, narrow molar-mass dispersity (Đ = 1.25), and sequential polymerization capability. In addition, the photocata-lytic system exits excellent “on-off” photo switchability and shows the longest “off period” of 36 h up to now for photo-controlled cationic polymerization. Furthermore, the residual photo-catalyst is easily deactivated and decolored with addition of a base after the polymerization.
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Visible Light-Controlled Living Cationic Polymerization of Methoxystyrene