Ambipolar redox-active polymers with a reversible charging and discharging capability were synthesized via ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP) of nitronyl nitroxide radical (NN) mono- and disubstituted norbornenes which exhibited p- and n-type redox processes (i.e., one-electron oxidation and reduction per NN group, respectively), using Grubbs catalyst to avoid side reactions of the radical moiety allowing over 95% of radicals to survive after ROMP. ROMP of the NN monomers was accomplished with well-controlled molecular weights of the resulting NN polymers which were coincident with theoretical values in the ratio of [monomer]/[catalyst] = 25-200, narrow polydispersity index (ca. 1.2), and high yields even with [monomer]/[catalyst] > 600. The living character for the ROMP of the NN monomers also allowed block copolymerization. NN-containing block copolymers were synthesized through sequential ROMP with benzyl ether-containing norbornene in high yields. The NN polymer/carbon composite electrode exhibited both p- and n-type charging/discharging with plateau potentials near the redox potentials of the polymer at 0.78 and -0.80 V vs Ag/AgCl, respectively. The spin-coated layer electrode of the NN polymer immobilized on a current collector also demonstrated a fast charging/discharging performance in the range of 10-100 C rates and a cycle stability especially for the p-type reaction. These results made the NN polymer accessible as ambipolar electrode-active materials and also encouraged other organic radicals to be candidates for electroactive polymers.
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