We developed a robust nanosecond photonic crystal switching material by using poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) nanogel colloidal particles that self-assemble into crystalline colloidal arrays (CCAs). The CCA was polymerized into a loose-knit hydrogel which permits the individual embedded nanogel PNIPAM particles to coherently and synchronously undergo their thermally induced volume phase transitions. A laser T-jump from 30 to 35°C actuates the nanogel particle shrinkage; the resulting increased diffraction decreases light transmission within 900 ns. Additional transmission decreases occur with characteristic times of 19 and 130 ns. Individual NIPAM sphere volume switching occurs in the ∼100 ns time regime. These nanogel nanosecond phenomena may be useful in the design of fast photonic crystal switches and optical limiting materials. Smaller nanogels will show even faster volume phase transitions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry