Stamping colloidal photonic crystals: a facile way towards complex pixel colour patterns for sensing and displays†
Patterning of colloidal photonic crystals (CPCs) has been strongly investigated in recent years for sensing and image displays. Rather than using traditional template-directed approaches, here microimprint lithography along with convective self-assembly is applied to generate complex CPC patterns that can be adjusted to show single- or dual-colour patterns or composite CPC patterns possessing two different colours. These composite CPC patterns show different wettability with water because of the surface chemistry of the polymers and silica used. This dramatically transforms the structural colours upon liquid infiltration. By mixing different ethanol concentrations with water, the infiltration efficiency can be further improved and easily read out from changes in reflection intensity and spectral peak shifts. Integrating these nano-architectures into devices can thus yield function as image displays and as sensors for solvents.