Two-photon absorption cross-sections of common photoinitiators

Katherine J. Schafer, Joel M. Hales, Mihaela Balu, Kevin D. Belfield, Eric W. Van Stryland, David J. Hagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Scopus citations


Recent interests in and applications of two-photon absorption (2PA) induced photopolymerization have afforded advanced opportunities to perform three-dimensionally resolved polymerization, resulting in intricate microfabrication and imaging. Many of the reported 2PA-induced polymerizations make use of commercially available photoinitiators, and a key parameter to consider is the two-photon absorption cross-section (δ) of the initiator. To date, there has been no comprehensive investigation of two-photon absorptivity of commercial photoinitiators, though a few studies presenting novel photoinitiators for two-photon polymerization have appeared. Herein, we report the 2PA properties of common, commercially available photoinitiators typically utilized in conventional radiation curing science and technologies, and often used in 2PA-based polymerizations. Z-scan and white-light continuum (WLC) pump-probe techniques were utilized to obtain two-photon absorption cross-sections (δ). The results for most compounds were found to yield good agreement between the two methods. Most of the photoinitiators studied possess low δ, except Irgacure OXE01, indicating a need for the development of new photoinitiators with improved properties optimized for 2PA applications. A compound prepared in our laboratories exhibits high 2PA and was useful as a two-photon free-radical photoinitiator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-502
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Mar 15 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • Darocure
  • Irgacure
  • Photoinitiators
  • Photopolymerization
  • Two-photon absorption


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