Rational engineering of nanoporous anodic alumina optical bandpass filters†
Herein, we present a rationally designed advanced nanofabrication approach aiming at producing a new type of optical bandpass filters based on nanoporous anodic alumina photonic crystals. The photonic stop band of nanoporous anodic alumina (NAA) is engineered in depth by means of a pseudo-stepwise pulse anodisation (PSPA) approach consisting of pseudo-stepwise asymmetric current density pulses. This nanofabrication method makes it possible to tune the transmission bands of NAA at specific wavelengths and bandwidths, which can be broadly modified across the UV-visible-NIR spectrum through the anodisation period (i.e. time between consecutive pulses). First, we establish the effect of the anodisation period as a means of tuning the position and width of the transmission bands of NAA across the UV-visible-NIR spectrum. To this end, a set of nanoporous anodic alumina bandpass filters (NAA-BPFs) are produced with different anodisation periods, ranging from 500 to 1200 s, and their optical properties (i.e. characteristic transmission bands and interferometric colours) are systematically assessed. Then, we demonstrate that the rational combination of stacked NAA-BPFs consisting of layers of NAA produced with different PSPA periods can be readily used to create a set of unique and highly selective optical bandpass filters with characteristic transmission bands, the position, width and number of which can be precisely engineered by this rational anodisation approach. Finally, as a proof-of-concept, we demonstrate that the superposition of stacked NAA-BPFs produced with slight modifications of the anodisation period enables the fabrication of NAA-BPFs with unprecedented broad transmission bands across the UV-visible-NIR spectrum. The results obtained from our study constitute the first comprehensive rationale towards advanced NAA-BPFs with fully controllable photonic properties. These photonic crystal structures could become a promising alternative to traditional optical bandpass filters based on glass and plastic.