Cyclic Oligomer Byproducts Separated by High-Resolution Advanced Polymer Chromatography (APC)

Step-growth polymerization involves the reaction of two complementary functional groups creating repetitive linkages to form long linear chains of repeat units. As this occurs randomly, there is competition between linear polymerization and cyclic oligomer byproducts which comprise dimer, trimer, or higher order structures [1]. These cyclic byproducts can either be beneficial or detrimental depending on the desired final material properties. Due to the lack of end-groups in these cyclic species, characterizing the amount and type of cyclic oligomers formed during the polymerization is challenging. A technique to quickly analyze these byproducts is greatly desired. This is incredibly important for various research areas, such as developing new polymeric precursors for 3D printing techniques. While methods of extracting and concentrating the cyclic content exist, these are quite time consuming. There is a need for a faster analysis to characterize the absolute molecular weight distribution with high-resolution separation of cyclic oligomers.

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