Oligo(p-phenylene sulfide) is synthesized through oxygen oxidative polymerization of diphenyl disulfide catalyzed by vanadyl acetylacetonate. The mechanistic studies reveal that two redox cycles [V(III)/V(IV) and V(IV)/V(V)] give rise to catalysis through a 2-electron transfer between diphenyl disulfide and molecular oxygen. The VO catalysts act as an excellent electron mediator to bridge a 1.0-V potential gap between the oxidation potential of disulfides and the reduction potential of oxygen. The VO-catalyzed oxygen oxidative polymerization provides pure oligo(p-phenylene sulfide)s containing an S-S bond. The polymeric product is of low molecular weight due to the insolubility of poly(p-phenylene sulfide) under these experimental conditions.
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