A series of eleven push–pull chromophores with specific structures have been designed for the free radical polymerization of acrylates, but also for the fabrication of photocomposites and 3D-printed structures. New photoinitiating systems comprising the different push–pull dyes showed excellent photochemical reactivities at 405 nm. Notably, polymerization reactions could be initiated with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which constitute a unique opportunity to promote the free radical polymerization under mild conditions, i.e., low light intensity (e.g., sunlight
) and under air. Photopolymerization is an active research field, and push–pull dyes have already been investigated for this purpose. Besides, it remains of crucial interest to investigate new reactive structures capable of efficiently initiating photopolymerization reactions. The plausible potential of these structures to act as efficient photoinitiators in vat photopolymerization (or 3D printing) and fabrication of photocomposites prompts us to select eleven new push–pull dyes to design multi-component photoinitiating systems activable with LEDs emitting at 405 nm. Precisely, a tertiary amine, i.e., ethyl dimethylaminobenzoate (EDB) used as an electron/hydrogen donor and an iodonium salt used as an electron acceptor were selected to behave as powerful co-initiators to construct three-component photoinitiating systems (PISs) with the different push–pull dyes. Among these new PISs, dye 8
-based PISs could efficiently promote the free radical photopolymerization of acrylates upon exposure to a LED emitting at 405 nm also upon sunlight irradiation, highlighting their huge performance. Photoinitiating abilities could be explained on the basis of steady state photolysis experiments. Fluorescence measurements and electron spin resonance (ESR) spin-trapping experiments were also performed to obtain a deeper insight into the chemical mechanisms supporting the polymerization reaction and determine the way the initiating species, i.e., the radicals, are observed. Finally, two investigated dye-based PISs were applied to the fabrications of photocomposites. Three-dimensional patterns with excellent spatial resolutions were generated by the laser writing technique to identify the effects of photopolymerization of acrylates both in the absence and presence of fillers (silica). Interestingly, comparison between the 3D objects fabricated by the PISs/monomer systems and the PISs/monomer/filler photocomposites indicates that the newly designed photocomposites are suitable for practical applications.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited