Our research interest is the application of organocatalysis and photocatalysis in small molecule and polymer synthesis, aiming at the development of sustainable and functional materials.
Current research projects are directed to the development of organocatalytic (metal-free) polymerization via different mechanisms, for precision synthesis of polymers with sequence, stereo(tacticity)-, temporal-, and spatial-control, with a focus on new catalyst and new catalytic system development. We are also interesed in synthetic methodology development on radical fluorosulfonylation and photoinduced biomass transformation, aiming to develop biodegradable polymers as well as materials for application in energy-related fields.
I. Organocatalytic Polymerization (Stereoselective Polymerization)
With a focus on organocatalyst development for the synthesis of metal-free polymer materials. Several polymerization methods, including organocatalytic radical polymerization, ring-opening polymerization of lactones, cationic polymerization, as well as stereoselective cationic polymerization have been established by employing organocatalysts and metal-free systems developed in this lab.
II. Photocontrolled Polymerization
We are interested in the development of mild, efficient, precise synthetic methods for the construction of polymer materials with additional controls (e.g. temporal, spatial control) via light regulation. We have developed a series of photocatalysts and photocatalytic systems, which could allow the development of photo-controlled metal-free ATRP and RAFT polymerization at a ppm level of catalyst loading, visible light-regulated ring-opening polymerization under neutral conditions, metal-free cationic polymerization with strict temporal control, as well as the [2 + 2] solution photopolymerization of biomass-based monomers, etc.
III. Polymer Ligation Chemistry
We are interested in the development of effective methods for the ligation of macromolecules, including the design of reagents and reactions for introducing reactive/clickable functional groups of interest for polymer synthesis. We have developed a series of radical thiolation/sulphuration reactions to introduce thiol, thioester, fluorosulfonyl groups, which can be used as ligation/initiating sites for the construction of various polymer materials. Highly reliable reactions can also be employed in the post-polymerization modification of polymers.
We gratefully acknowledge National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Recruitment Program of Global Experts, Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, National Engineering Laboratory for Green Chemical Productions of Alcohols-Ethers-Esters, 100-Talent Project of Fujian, Key Laboratory of Molecule Synthesis and Function Discovery (Fujian Province University), Fuzhou University, and Xiamen University for the financial support.