Real-time Fourier transform infrared attenuated total reflection (FT-IR/ATR) spectroscopy was used to study the depth profile of the conversion during photopolymerization reactions. The method is based on the UV irradiation of coatings of different thicknesses on the ATR crystal. Due to the finite depth of penetration of the infrared probe signal into the sample, conversion is analyzed only in a narrow layer at the bottom of the coating. The method was used to characterize the effect of photo-initiators on the depth of cure in acrylate coatings. The self-screening of a strongly absorbing morpholino ketone photo-initiator and the photobleaching of a bisacylphosphine oxide initiator are demonstrated. Moreover, depth profiling studies on the filter effect of UV absorbers and on the influence of pigmentation in white-pigmented systems will be reported.

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