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Polyolefin Functionalization

Polyolefins that contain polar functional groups are important materials for next‐generation lightweight engineering thermoplastics. Post‐polymerization modification is an ideal method for the incorporation of polar groups into branched polyolefins. However, this typically results in chain scission events, which have deleterious effects on polymer properties.

Published in Angewandte Chemie, researchers from the Leibfarth and Alexanian groups, report a metal‐free method for radical‐mediated C−H xanthylation that results in the regioselective functionalization of branched polyolefins without coincident polymer‐chain scission.

This method enables a tunable degree of polymer functionalization and capitalizes on the versatility of the xanthate functional group to unlock a wide variety of C−H transformations previously inaccessible on branched polyolefins.