Smart polymer inverse-opal photonic crystal films by melt-shear organization for hybrid core–shell architectures†
A feasible strategy to achieve large-area mechano-, thermo- and solvatochromic hybrid opal (OPC) and inverse opal photonic crystal (IOPC) films based on polymer hydrogels is described. Silica core particles featuring surface-anchored stimuli-responsive polymers are prepared and advantageously used for the melt-shear organization technique. By this approach hybrid OPC films with adjustable periodicities for photonic applications can be prepared. The large-area OPC films can be furthermore converted into IOPC structures simply by etching the silica particles while maintaining the excellent order of the entire opal film. This herein developed new process seems to be universal and is successfully applied to two thermo-responsive polymers, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) and poly(diethylene glycol methylether methacrylate) (PDEGMEMA) as particle shell materials. Besides the remarkable mechanical robustness of the hybrid OPC and IOPC films, optical properties upon changes of temperature, mechanical stress and different solvents as external triggers are successfully confirmed. The herein described novel strategy for the preparation of inorganic/organic OPC and IOPC polymer films is feasible for a wide range of applications in fields of sensing and photonic band gap materials.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2015 Journal of Materials Chemistry C Hot Papers