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Research Highlight

Tuning Biocompatible Polymers with Deuteration

ORNL Image
Structures of selectively deuterated poly(ε-caprolactone)s (PCL) and their orthorhombic crystal structures. The lower left plot shows deuteration effects on crystal lattice parameters measured by high-resolution powder diffraction.

Scientific Achievement

Precision synthesis of selectively deuterated, poly(ε-caprolactone)s (PCLs) with crystal lattice parameters that depend on deuteration levels.

Significance and Impact

The effects of deuteration on biocompatible polymers potentially enables rational tuning of structures and properties.

Research Details

– Efficient large-scale synthesis of deuterated PCLs.

– X-Ray diffraction reveals  large contraction of the crystal lattice along the chain axis upon deuteration.

– FTIR combined with density functional theory calculations indicate reduced mass effects and attenuated H-bond like interactions among chains.

– Melting point depression is consistent with weaker intermolecular interactions. 

D. Chang, T. Li, L. Li, J. Jakowski, J. Huang, J. Keum, B. Lee, P. V. Bonnesen, M. Zhou, S. Garashchuk, B. G. Sumpter, and K. Hong, "Selectively deuterated poly(ε-caprolactone)s: synthesis and isotope effects on the crystal structures and properties," Macromolecules 51 (22), 9393-9404 (2018).   DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.8b01851