© 2019 by the Boyer Group.

Photo-flow polymerisation

Our group is currently exploring photo-flow techniques for upscaling polymerisation processes, as well as the synthesis and modification of complex macromolecules. Continuous flow processing is well suited for the facile upscaling of polymerisation processes, particularly, the use of thin tubing in photo-flow processes circumvents problems that occur in batch photopolymerisation processes. Flow processing also allows for more precise polymer synthesis, with higher yields and less side-product formation.


Using the PET-RAFT polymerisation technique, and other photopolymerisation systems, in flow reactors allows the reaction rate to be mediated by alteration of the pump flow rates, chemical concentrations, residence times of the reactant streams, and the intensity and wavelength of the light source. Alteration of these parameters throughout the polymerisation process allows complexity to be easily incorporated during synthesis, and complex products to be easily synthesised in one-pass. Using this methodology we have developed novel protocols for the production of polymer mixtures with well-defined and tailorable molecular weight distributions (MWDs). Since the properties of polymer materials are dictated by their primary structure and MWD, production of materials with controlled MWDs are critical for future materials production.

Related publications

  • Zaquen, N.; Zhu, H.; Kadir, A. M. N. B. P. H .A.; Junkers, T.; Zetterlund, P. B.; Boyer C., Scalable Aqueous RAFT Photo Polymerization-Induced Self-Assembly of Acrylamides for Direct Synthesis of Polymer Nanoparticles for Potential Drug Delivery Applications, ACS Applied Polymer Materials 2019, 10.1021/acsapm.9b00280.

  • Corrigan, N.; Zhernakov, L.; Hashim, M. H.; Xu, J.; Boyer, C., Flow Mediated Metal-Free PET-RAFT Polymerisation for Upscaled and Consistent Polymer Production. Reaction Chemistry & Engineering 2019, 10.1039/C9RE00014C.

  • Corrigan, N.; Manahan, R.; Lew, Z. T.; Yeow, J.; Xu, J.; Boyer, C., Copolymers with Controlled Molecular Weight Distributions and Compositional Gradients through Flow Polymerization. Macromolecules 2018, 51, 4553-4563, 10.1021/acs.macromol.8b00673.

  • Huang, Z.; Corrigan, N.; Lin, S.; Boyer, C; Xu, J, Upscaling single unit monomer insertion to synthesize discrete oligomers. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry 2019, 10.1002/pola.29330.

  • Corrigan, N.; Almasri, A.; Taillades, W.; Xu, J. T.; Boyer, C., Controlling Molecular Weight Distributions through Photoinduced Flow Polymerization. Macromolecules 2017, 50 (21), 8438-8448.

  • Corrigan, N.; Rosli, D.; Jones, J. W. J.; Xu, J. T.; Boyer, C., Oxygen Tolerance in Living Radical Polymerization: Investigation of Mechanism and Implementation in Continuous Flow Polymerization. Macromolecules 2016, 49 (18), 6779-6789.