Carnegie Mellon University

Mechanisms and Catalyst Development


This is a summary page to introduce you to the two topics, listed below.

Development of ATRP

Understanding the Mechanistic Parameters of Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP):  

Research conducted in the Matyjaszewski group is focused on two broad research areas, one is in the area of developing an understanding of mechanistic parameters of transition metal catalyzed ATRP and covers several topics.  The two main areas and their sub-topics are detailed below:

Developing a comprehensive structure-reactivity relationship for each component of the reaction including:

  • structure of catalyst complexes and active centers 
  • optimization of reaction conditions for various degrees of polymerization and materials of varied topology
  • understanding/minimization of side reactions
  • improved cross-propagation kinetics for preparation of block copolymers
  • conducting reactions in various media

Catalyst optimization

  • expanding range of monomers
  • reducing the amount of catalyst
  • immobilization, removal, recycling the catalyst; e.g. the development of a hybrid catalyst system

On this page we provide a Summary of the mechanism of ATRP and in other pages we discuss in greater detail the Chemistry involved in some Controlled Radical Polymerization (CRP) processes, (1) in particular ATRP.  The range of new Materials that can be prepared using the recently developed CRP processes are discussed on other pages of this web site.

The development of ATRP is discussed in much greater detail in the following pages on this site:

The ultimate aim of these initiatives is to provide you with the tools to explore the potential of utilizing ATRP for polymerization of an expanding range of monomers, thereby allowing the controlled synthesis of materials that can be processed under well defined conditions to display properties that closely match those required for specifically targeted applications.


Ultimately you, the reader who wishes to prepare a functional molecule for a specific application, should be able to reverse the image shown above and knowing the properties of the material you desire you will be able to prepare materials with those properties by conducting a controlled polymerization.


(1)       Braunecker, W. A.;  Brown, W. C.;  Morelli, B. C.;  Tang, W.;  Poli, R.; Matyjaszewski, K. Macromolecules 2007, 40, 8576-8585.