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Synthetic polymers have been conventionally hardened by heating them at elevated temperatures. The properties and service life span of such synthetic materials largely depends on the degree of cure and crosslinking. In some cases, hardening of polymeric materials can be achieved in ambient conditions with the aid of catalysts. However, postcuring of such materials at higher temperature imparts better strength and resistance to harsh environmental conditions. The heating or hardening of such materials at higher temperature demands a high level of safety, excessive energy, and often a large working space.

The invention of photocuring technology is deemed to revolutionize the materials industry. This technique is considered as one of the most effective ways to rapidly transform a liquid polymeric resin into a dense crosslinked stable product without the release of harmful volatile organic components. Curing and crosslinking reactions triggered by light occur extremely rapidly that saves significant time required in conventional hardening of the materials. The ability to rapidly cure at low temperature, high spatial resolution, and use of stable single-component systems without the need for solvents continue to fuel industrial and academic interest in photocured materials. The past decade has noticed significant research and development activities in the curing technology as well as chemical ingredients. A wide array of photoinitiators, polymer precursors, fillers, and light devices has been discovered for the newer developments. Market survey studies have suggested that interest in photocured materials is gaining wide acceptance in academia as well as industry. It is thought that the market of photocured materials such as acrylic resins would grow at a rapid pace and reached approximately US$ 4.94 billion in year 2012. It clearly demonstrates the applicability and usefulness of the materials and technology. This staunch effort could help educating young scholars about the unforeseen applications that may originate from the interdisciplinary approach.

This book is a collection of excellent chapters written by the experts utilizing the technology in various innovative areas of materials science and engineering. Chapters dedicated to the synthesis of new monomers and resulting polymeric precursors are included to lay the foundation for novice. The utility of photocuring in coatings is the fastest growing area and has been extensively highlighted in the book. Besides traditional photocuring using UV lamps, LED and lasers a two-photon curing technique will impart new research directions for innovative developments. Chapters on the utility of photocuring technology in obtaining complex 3D structures, composite curing, and functional polymers will be of enormous interest to the readers of many research areas. The utilization of commercially successful polymers in microscale structures fabrication is well demonstrated in three inter-related chapters. The chapter on migration from cured coatings in food-contact applications reminds the researchers to consider the levels of residual photoinitiators and other low molecular weight species while designing their materials for faster curing and better properties.

We are confident that this book will be of interest to readers from diverse backgrounds in chemistry, physics, biology, materials science and engineering, and chemical engineering. It can serve as a reference book for students and research scholars and as a unique guide for the industrial technologists.

Atul Tiwari

Alexander Polykarpov

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