Polyurethanes (PUs) constitute a popular class of plastic materials with a wide range of applications in construction, coatings, and the automotive industry. PUs are usually synthesized by step-growth polymerization and, therefore, exhibit non-uniform molecular structures. Here, we show that uniform PUs can be prepared by a facile chemoselective multistep-growth approach. This strategy permits precise control of the chain lengths of the PUs formed and their primary structure, thus making the preparation of coded monomer sequences possible. Furthermore, it was found that these polymers are remarkably easy to analyze by tandem mass spectrometry sequencing. Thus, these precision polymers can potentially be used as molecular barcodes in various applications. As a proof of concept, their use as anti-counterfeiting tags for identification of materials is reported here.
Gunay, U. S., Petit, B. E., Karamessini, D., Al Ouahabi, A., Amalian, J. A., Chendo, C., … Lutz, J. F. (2016). Chemoselective Synthesis of Uniform Sequence-Coded Polyurethanes and Their Use as Molecular Tags. Chem, 1(1), 114–126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chempr.2016.06.006