We developed a straightforward method to form non-close-packed highly ordered fcc direct and inverse opal silica photonic crystals. We utilize an electrostatically self assembled crystalline colloidal array (CCA) template formed by monodisperse, highly charged polystyrene particles. We then polymerize a hydrogel around the CCA (PCCA) and condense silica to form a highly ordered silica impregnated (siPCCA) photonic crystal. Heating at 450 °C removes the organic polymer leaving a silica inverse opal structure. By altering the colloidal particle concentration we independently control the particle spacing and the wall thickness of the inverse opal photonic crystals. This allows us to control the optical dielectric constant modulation in order to optimize the diffraction; the dielectric constant modulation is controlled independently of the photonic crystal periodicity. These fcc photonic crystals are better ordered than typical close-packed photonic crystals because their self assembly utilizes soft electrostatic repulsive potentials. We show that colloidal particle size and charge polydispersity has modest impact on ordering, in contrast to that for close-packed crystals.
- Electrostatic stabilization
- Photonic crystal
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry