Tunable photonic crystals with partial bandgaps from blue phase colloidal crystals and dielectric-doped blue phases
Blue phase colloidal crystals and dielectric nanoparticle/polymer doped blue phases are demonstrated to combine multiple components with different symmetries in one photonic material, creating a photonic crystal with variable and micro-controllable photonic band structure. In this composite photonic material, one contribution to the band structure is determined by the 3D periodic birefringent orientational profile of the blue phases, whereas the second contribution emerges from the regular array of the colloidal particles or from the dielectric/nanoparticle-doped defect network. Using the planewave expansion method, optical photonic bands of the blue phase I and II colloidal crystals and related nanoparticle/polymer doped blue phases are calculated, and then compared to blue phases with no particles and to face-centred-cubic and body-centred-cubic colloidal crystals in isotropic background. We find opening of local band gaps at particular points of Brillouin zone for blue phase colloidal crystals, where there were none in blue phases without particles or dopants. Particle size and filling fraction of the blue phase defect network are demonstrated as parameters that can directly tune the optical bands and local band gaps. In the blue phase I colloidal crystal with an additionally doped defect network, interestingly, we find an indirect total band gap (with the exception of one point) at the entire edge of SC irreducible zone. Finally, this work demonstrates the role of combining multiple – by symmetry – differently organised components in one photonic crystal material, which offers a novel approach towards tunable soft matter photonic materials.