Old relief printing applied to the current preparation of multi-color and high resolution colloidal photonic crystal patterns†
Monodisperse SiO2 colloids are assembled into colloidal crystals in the mixture of monomer and solvent, which is transformed into a mechanochromic photonic crystal paper by polymerization. Following the relief printing strategy, the printing plates are pressed onto the paper to generate letters or images due to the contrast of structural color between the deformed and the undeformed paper, and the images can be permanently retained through UV curing. The wide tunable range of structural color for the current paper under deformation helps to realize multi-color printing. The localized deformation among or even inside the colloidal microcrystals renders the paper with a precise mechanochromic response to the printing plates and leads to the production of high resolution photonic crystal patterns.