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Thermo-, photo-, and mechano-responsive liquid crystal networks enable tunable photonic crystals

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Abstract

Tunable photonic crystals exhibiting optical properties that respond reversibly to external stimuli have been developed using liquid crystal networks (LCNs) and liquid crystal elastomers (LCEs). These tunable photonic crystals possess an inverse opal structure and are photo-responsive, but circumvent the usual requirement to contain dye molecules in the structure that often limit their applicability and cause optical degradation. Herein, we report tunable photonic crystal films that reversibly tune the reflection peak wavelength under thermo-, photo- and mechano-stimuli, through bilayering a stimuli-responsive LCN including azobenzene units with a colourless inverse opal film composed of non-responsive, flexible durable polymers. By mechanically deforming the azobenzene containing LCN via various stimuli, the reflection peak wavelength from the bilayered film assembly could be shifted on demand. We confirm that the reflection peak shift occurs due to the deformation of the stimuli-responsive layer propagating towards and into the inverse opal layer to change its shape in response, and this shift behaviour is repeatable without optical degradation.

Graphical abstract: Thermo-, photo-, and mechano-responsive liquid crystal networks enable tunable photonic crystals

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 Jun 2017, accepted on 29 Aug 2017 and first published on 30 Aug 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01287J
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017, Advance Article
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    Thermo-, photo-, and mechano-responsive liquid crystal networks enable tunable photonic crystals

    N. Akamatsu, K. Hisano, R. Tatsumi, M. Aizawa, C. J. Barrett and A. Shishido, Soft Matter, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01287J

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