Crystal-to-crystal photo-reversible polymerization mechanism of bis-thymine derivative

Akihiro Udagawa, Priscilla Johnston, Aya Sakon, Ryosuke Toyoshima, Hidehiro Uekusa, Hideko Koshima, Kei Saito*, Toru Asahi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Solid-state photo-polymerization in crystals can produce stereoregular polymer molecules in environmentally friendly solvent-free systems. The polymerization mechanism of bis-thymine derivatives, such as dimethyl-3,3′-(3,3′-(butane-1,4-diyl)bis(5-methyl-2,4-dioxo-3,4-dihydropyrimidine-3,1(2H)-diyl))dipropanoate (1), known as unique molecules that can topochemically and reversibly polymerize in the crystalline state via [2 + 2]-cycloaddition reactions upon UV irradiation, remained to be solved. In this manuscript, the crystal structure of the polymeric photoproduct (1P) from a bis-thymine derivative 1 was determined using ab initio powder X-ray diffraction data and applied to investigate the polymerization mechanism of bis-thymine derivatives. The topochemical polymerization was found to be achieved via [2 + 2]-cycloaddition with the flexible butyl chain between thyminyl rings relieving the distortion of whole structure derived from cyclobutane formation. The crystal structure of 1P also showed that it polymerized stereoregularly with trans-anti cyclobutane conformations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107317-107322
Number of pages6
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number109
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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