This contribution discusses photoinitiated crosslinking of multifunctional acrylic esters in polymeric binders based on digital imaging using the Computer to Plate (CtP) technology applying laser exposure at 830 nm in the near infrared (NIR). All coating components (NIR photoinitiator system, monomers, binder, adhesion promoter, contrast dye, and oxygen barrier material) were applied as thin double layer film (1–2 μm dry film thickness) on Al-plates with an anodized surface. Materials exposed exhibit a sensitivity between 30–200 mJ/cm2 depending on the NIR-photoinitiator composition. This was processed in a weak aqueous alkaline bath to obtain the image. Generation of initiating radicals occurs by electron transfer from the excited state of the NIR-sensitizer to the radical generator; that is either an onium salt or neutral electron deficient compound. Redox potentials were determined for the NIR-sensitizers and the radical generator. These data allow a rough estimate regarding the free energy of electron transfer of the excited state of the sensitizer and radical generator in NIR-photosensitive imaging material. Photoinduced electron transfer plays a major function to generate initiating radicals by a sensitized mechanism but thermal events also influence sensitivity of the coating. Particular the non-radiative deactivation of the NIR-sensitizer possesses a major function to release selectively the heat. Absorption data of many NIR-sensitizers used exhibit molar extinction coefficient of more than 200000 M–1 cm–1.
©2014 Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston