The ever increasing applications of photopolymers from historical thin (<50 µm) coatings to very deep samples (>1 cm) require the development of robust 4D monitoring strategies able to assess photopolymerization efficiencies (first dimension) as a function of time (second dimension) and position (third and fourth dimensions). Therefore, here, we demonstrated that thermal imaging is a valuable photopolymerization monitoring device showing: (a) very high response times (<1 s); (b) high repeatability of the measurement; (c) strong adaptability of the setup to various conditions (e.g., onto irregular surfaces or inside a real time Fourier transformed infrared spectrometer (RT-FTIR)); (d) extremely deep photopolymerization follow-ups (and subsequent rationalization) with good resolution in time and in space (real-time thermal imaging microscopy experiments); (e) adaptability to applied materials. This monitoring strategy was found particularly robust when taking into account all the heat generating phenomena (i.e., direct heating from the lamp vs. temperature raised due to monomer conversion). As a result, we propose thermal imaging as the next reference monitoring system for the new ranges of thick and/or filled samples (e.g., 3D objects, composites) and/or applied photopolymerizations (e.g., 3D printing) more and more present in the literature.

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© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2018