Photonic crystals and plasmonics are two key techniques that could ultimately enable all-optical integrated circuits and quantum information processing. Unfortunately, the development and implementation of these techniques have been greatly impeded by expensive and painstaking top-down nanofabrication (e.g., electron-beam lithography). By contrast, bottom-up colloidal self-assembly and subsequent templating nanofabrication provide a much simpler, faster, and inexpensive alternative to nanolithography in creating highly ordered photonic crystals and plasmonic nanostructures. However, traditional colloidal self-assembly and templating nanofabrication approaches suffer from low throughput, incompatibility with standard microfabrication, and limited crystal structures which greatly hamper the mass-production and on-chip integration of practical nanooptical devices. In this feature article, we review the recent advances of a versatile spin-coating technological platform that enables rapid production of wafer-scale colloidal photonic crystals with unusual non-close-packed structures and a large variety of periodic metal nanostructures with tunable plasmonic properties.
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