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Selectively Patterning Polymer Opal Films via Microimprint Lithography.

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Ding, Tao 
Zhao, Qibin 
Smoukov, Stoyan K 
Baumberg, Jeremy J 


Large-scale structural color flexible coatings have been hard to create, and patterning color on them is key to many applications, including large-area strain sensors, wall-size displays, security devices, and smart fabrics. To achieve controlled tuning, a micro-imprinting technique is applied here to pattern both the surface morphology and the structural color of the polymer opal films (POFs). These POFs are made of 3D ordered arrays of hard spherical particles embedded inside soft shells. The soft outer shells cause the POFs to deform upon imprinting with a pre-patterned stamp, driving a flow of the soft polymer and a rearrangement of the hard spheres within the films. As a result, a patterned surface morphology is generated within the POFs and the structural colors are selectively modified within different regions. These changes are dependent on the pressure, temperature, and duration of imprinting, as well as the feature sizes in the stamps. Moreover, the pattern geometry and structural colors can then be further tuned by stretching. Micropattern color generation upon imprinting depends on control of colloidal transport in a polymer matrix under shear flow and brings many potential properties including stretchability and tunability, as well as being of fundamental interest.



core–shell particles, lithography, photonic crystals, polymer opal films, shear flow, structural color

Journal Title

Adv Opt Mater

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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/G060649/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/H027130/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/E040241/1)
European Research Council (320503)
European Research Council (280078)