Ethanol vapor-induced fabrication of colloidal crystals with controllable layers and photonic properties†
A novel fabrication method for colloidal crystals has been proposed for the first time in this research. In this method, a suspension droplet containing colloidal particles was first spread onto a glass substrate placed in an ethanol vapor environment, and then the droplet was extracted from its center. In that case, the contact angle of the droplet reduced and the contact line receded toward the center, during which the colloidal particles self-assembled and immobilized forming a 2D colloidal crystal film on the substrate upon drying the liquid film. Alternately spreading and drying of suspension films could construct fine multi-layers of colloidal crystals, while the ethanol fraction in the suspension would be used to control roughly but rapidly the layer numbers of colloidal crystals. It was also found that the photonic properties of resultant colloidal crystal films were elevated by increasing their thickness.