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28 February 2011 Colloidal co-assembly route to large-area high-quality photonic crystals
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Whereas considerable interest exists in self-assembly of well-ordered, porous "inverse opal" structures for optical, electronic, and (bio)chemical applications, uncontrolled defect formation has limited the scale-up and practicality of such approaches. Here we demonstrate a new method for assembling highly ordered, crack-free inverse opal films over a centimeter scale. Multilayered composite colloidal crystal films have been generated via evaporative deposition of polymeric colloidal spheres suspended within a hydrolyzed silicate sol-gel precursor solution. The co-assembly of a sacrificial colloidal template with a matrix material avoids the need for liquid infiltration into the preassembled colloidal crystal and minimizes the associated cracking and inhomogeneities of the resulting inverse opal films. We demonstrate that this co-assembly approach allows the fabrication of hierarchical structures not achievable by conventional methods, such as multilayered films and deposition onto patterned or curved surfaces, and can be transformed into various materials that retain the morphology and order of the original films. We show that colloidal co-assembly represents a simple, low-cost, scalable method for generating high-quality, chemically tailorable inverse opal films for optical applications.
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Lidiya Mishchenko, Benjamin Hatton, Ian B. Burgess, Stan Davis, Kenneth Sandhage, and Joanna Aizenberg "Colloidal co-assembly route to large-area high-quality photonic crystals", Proc. SPIE 7946, Photonic and Phononic Properties of Engineered Nanostructures, 79460K (28 February 2011);

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