Synthesis of Deuterated and Sulfurated Polymers by Inverse Vulcanization: Engineering Infrared Transparency via Deuteration

Munaum H. Qureshi, Jianhua Bao, Tristan S. Kleine, Kyung Jo Kim, Kyle J. Carothers, Jake Molineux, Eunkyung Cho, Kyung Seok Kang, Nicholas P. Godman, Veaceslav Coropceanu, Jean Luc Bredas, Robert A. Norwood, Jon T. Njardarson, Jeffrey Pyun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The synthesis of deuterated, sulfurated, proton-free, glassy polymers offers a route to optical polymers for infrared (IR) optics, specifically for midwave IR (MWIR) photonic devices. Deuterated polymers have been utilized to enhance neutron cross-sectional contrast with proteo polymers for morphological neutron scattering measurements but have found limited utility for other applications. We report the synthesis of perdeuterated d14-(1,3-diisopropenylbenzene) with over 99% levels of deuteration and the preparation of proton-free, perdeuterated poly(sulfur-random-d14-(1,3-diisopropenylbenzene)) (poly(S-r-d14-DIB)) via inverse vulcanization with elemental sulfur. Detailed structural analysis and quantum computational calculations of these reactions demonstrate significant kinetic isotope effects, which alter mechanistic pathways to form different copolymer microstructures for deutero vs proteo poly(S-r-DIB). This design also allows for molecular engineering of MWIR transparency by shifting C-H bond vibrations around 3.3 μm/3000 cm-1 observed in proteo poly(S-r-DIB) to 4.2 μm/2200 cm-1. Furthermore, the fabrication of thin-film MWIR optical gratings made from molding of deuterated-sulfurated, proton-free poly(S-r-d14-DIB) is demonstrated; operation of these gratings at 3.39 μm is achieved successfully, while the proteo poly(S-r-DIB) gratings are opaque at these wavelengths, highlighting the promise of MWIR sensors and compact spectrometers from these materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27821-27829
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 20 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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