2 May 2014 Fabrication of polymer inverse opals with linear and nonlinear optical functionalities using a sandwiching approach
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Three-dimensionally (3D) ordered macroporous materials combine interesting structural and optical properties. Accessible and economic fabrication is essential to fully explore the unique possibilities these materials present. A common method to fabricate 3D ordered macroporous materials is by self-assembling colloids, resulting in so-called opals. A templating strategy is then often used to introduce additional functionality inside the porous structure, giving rise to inverse opals. In this work, we developed an easy and versatile method to fabricate highly uniform polymer inverse opals without overlayers. Briefly, our approach consists of sandwiching a resin melt between two opal templates, forcing all material inside or between the macroporous structures. The opal voids are fully filled and the superfluous melt material is extruded before curing the resin. Finally, the opal templates are removed by chemical etching. The resulting structures are freestanding 3D macroporous films with large-area uniformity, displaying strong photonic properties due to their structural order. Additionally, many applications require specific optical functionalities. The versatility of our templating method is uniquely suited for this purpose as it allows doping of the melt before infiltration. Therefore, we can incorporate a large variety of optical functions in the inverse opals using a single approach We believe this method will help the systematic investigation and improvement of existing effects in these structures, while providing a platform for the discovery and demonstration of novel effects. As this method combines 3D ordered macroporous materials with linear and nonlinear optical materials, it is even possible to tune optical interactions, which could be technologically relevant for OLEDs, solar cells, lasers, electro-optical modulators and optical switches.
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Pieter-Jan Demeyer, Pieter-Jan Demeyer, Stefaan Vandendriessche, Stefaan Vandendriessche, Stijn Van Cleuvenbergen, Stijn Van Cleuvenbergen, Sophie Carron, Sophie Carron, Tatjana N. Parac-Vogt, Tatjana N. Parac-Vogt, Thierry Verbiest, Thierry Verbiest, Koen Clays, Koen Clays, "Fabrication of polymer inverse opals with linear and nonlinear optical functionalities using a sandwiching approach", Proc. SPIE 9127, Photonic Crystal Materials and Devices XI, 912704 (2 May 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2052132; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2052132

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