Visible-light-mediated Diels-Alder reactions under single-chain polymer confinement: investigating the role of the crosslinking moiety on catalyst activity

Michael Spicuzza, Shweta Prakesh Gaikwad, Steven Huss, Annemarie A. Lee, Cristina V. Craescu, Anna Griggs, Joshmi Joseph, Mark Puthenpurayil, Wilson Lin, Christopher Matarazzo, Stanley Baldwin, Victoria Perez, Diego Alejandro Rodriguez-Acevedo, John R. Swierk, Elizabeth Elacqua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Macromolecular scaffolds are rapidly emerging in catalysis owing to the ability to control catalyst placement at precise locations. This spatial proximity allows for enhanced catalyst activity that may not be observed using small molecules. Herein, we describe a triphenylpyrylium (TPT)-based visible-light active single-chain polymer nanoparticle (SCNP) that facilitates the radical cation [4 + 2]-cycloaddition. We find that the catalytic activity is highly dependent on the styrylarene comonomer used, wherein it can act as a redox mediator under confinement, increasing the catalytic turnover (TON) by up to 30 times in comparison to free TPT in solution. Mechanistic studies indicate that TPT excited states are quenched by the acene, with the resultant radical cation formed from naphthalene-based SCNPs able to proceed in oxidizing the dienophile in the elementary step of the reaction, while leading to near quantitative yields of the cycloadduct. The TPT-SCNP demonstrates enhanced photocatalyst efficiency compared to molecular TPT, and is able to be recycled and reused in three iterations of the reaction prior to decreased performance from photobleaching. Our results overall suggest that the confined nature of the SCNP and spatial proximity of acene-based pendants enforces their participation as cocatalytic redox mediators that impart enhanced photoredox catalysis under confinement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1833-1838
Number of pages6
JournalPolymer Chemistry
Issue number18
StatePublished - Apr 10 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry

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