In this study we developed an approach to improve the characteristics of photopolymers for holographic data storage. Through codoping different compounds, N,N-dimethyl-4-nitroaniline (DMNA) and zinc methylacrylate (Zn(MA)2), into 9,10-phenanthrenequinone (PQ) doped poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), the diffraction efficiency and the value of dynamic range (M#) have been progressed. We enhanced the diffraction efficiency (from 36.1 to 86.2%) and the dynamic range (M#, from 2.9 to 10.7) of PQ-doped PMMA through codoping with DMNA and Zn(MA)2. Using mass spectrometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, we investigated the mechanism behind the improvements in optical storage induced by the presence of Zn(MA)2 and DMNA in PMMA/PQ. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 2013. © 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers