Interfacial Photopolymerization: A Method for Light-Based Printing of Thermoplastics

Cécile A.C. Chazot*, Megan A. Creighton*, A. John Hart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ultraviolet (UV) printing of photopolymers is a widely adopted manufacturing method because of its high resolution and throughput. However, available printable photopolymers are typically thermosets, resulting in challenges in postprocessing and recycling of printed structures. Here, we present a new process called interfacial photopolymerization (IPP) which enables photopolymerization printing of linear chain polymers. In IPP, a polymer film is formed at the interface between two immiscible liquids, one containing a chain-growth monomer and the other containing a photoinitiator. We demonstrate the integration of IPP in a proof-of-concept projection system for printing of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) films and rudimentary multi-layer shapes . IPP shows in-plane and out-of-plane resolutions comparable to conventional photoprinting methods. Cohesive PAN films with number-average molecular weights greater than 15 kg mol-1 are obtained, and to our knowledge this is the first report of photopolymerization printing of PAN. A macrokinetics model of IPP is developed to elucidate the transport and reaction rates involved and evaluate how reaction parameters affect film thickness and print speed. Last, demonstration of IPP in a multilayer scheme suggests its suitabiliy for three-dimensional printing of linear-chain polymers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31009-31019
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 28 2023


  • DLP printing
  • interfacial polymerization
  • macrokinetics
  • polymer
  • thermoplastic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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