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Pure Appl. Chem., 2012, Vol. 84, No. 10, pp. 2089-2101

Published online 2012-08-10

Advances in cationic photopolymerization

Marco Sangermano

Dipartimento di Scienza Applicata e Tecnologia, Politecnico di Torino, C. so Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy

Abstract: This review discusses cationic UV-curing processes of vinyl ethers, propenyl ethers, and epoxy monomers. Cationic photopolymerization based on photogeneration of acid from onium salts induced by UV light and consecutive polymerization initiated by photogenerated acid was first proposed at the end of the 1970s. The process engendered high interest both in academia and in industry. Cationic photoinduction presents some advantages over comparable radical-mediated processes, particularly the absence of inhibition by oxygen, low shrinkage, and good adhesion, and mechanical properties of the UV-cured materials. Moreover, the monomers employed are generally less toxic and irritant than acrylates and methacrylates, which are widely used in radical photopolymerization. In this overview, particular emphasis is given to our recent contributions to the field of cationic photopolymerization for different classes of monomers.