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Click chemistry, conceptually coined by Sharpless and colleagues in 2001, refers to a class of elegant reactions with such wonderful advantages as high efficiency, regio- and/or stereospecificity, atom economy, and no offensive by-product. In 2002, the first click reaction, Cu(i)-catalyzed azide–alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC), was reported. Attracted by its fantastic click merits, polymer scientists embarked on developing CuAAC into a click polymerization. As a result, Cu(i)-catalyzed azide–alkyne click polymerization (CuAACP) was successfully established and applied in preparing a number of functional polymers with linear and hyperbranched structures. Inspired by the great success of CuAACP and thanks to the rapid development of new click reactions of small molecules, such as thiol-ene/yne, Diels–Alder, and amino-yne click reactions, polymer scientists have also successfully developed these reactions into new kinds of click polymerizations, i.e. thiol-ene/yne, Diels–Alder, and amino-yne click polymerizations, and so on.

Thanks to the kind invitation from the editors of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), we embarked on the preparation of this book, which is specifically dedicated to the research of click polymerization. We invited a group of active polymer scientists in the area to contribute to this book on topics including transition metal-catalyzed and metal-free azide–alkyne click polymerizations, catalyst-free click polymerization based on nitrile N-oxides, thiol-yne click polymerization, proton transfer polymerization through thiol-epoxy and amine-epoxy ‘click’ reactions and multicomponent polymerization mediated by click chemistry.

This book is aimed at providing a valuable reference for readers who are interested in click polymerization. Although we have tried our best to make the book comprehensive, some important work may have been omitted, due to the limited space of the book and the rapid development in the area. Thus, we hope that the readers will provide us with constructive comments, so that we may modify the book in its next edition.

We would like to thank all of the authors of this book for their enthusiastic contributions. We also appreciate the Royal Society of Chemistry editors, Mr Connor Sheppard, Dr Leanne Marle and Dr Robin Driscoll for their enthusiastic encouragement and technical support. We hope this book will stimulate new efforts, trigger new ideas, and encourage more scientists to devote themselves to further developing click polymerization.

Anjun Qin

Center for Aggregation-Induced Emission

State Key Laboratory of Luminescent Materials and Devices

South China University of Technology

Ben Zhong Tang

Department of Chemistry

The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

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