Extending Polymer Opal Structural Color Properties into the Near-Infrared

Giselle Rosetta, Matt Gunn, John Tomes, Mike Butters, Chris Finlayson

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We report the fabrication and characterisation of near-IR reflecting films and coatings based on shear-assembled crystalline ensembles of polymer composite microspheres, also known as “polymer opals”. Extension of the emulsion polymerisation techniques for synthesis of tractable larger core-interlayer-shell (CIS) particles, of up to half a micron diameter, facilitates the engineering and processing of thin-film synthetic opals, with a tunable photonic stopband spanning an extended spectral range of λ ≈ 700–1600 nm. Samples exhibit strong “scattering cone” interactions, with considerable angular dependence and angle tuning possible, as measured with a goniometric technique. These intense optical resonances in the near-IR, particularly within the important region around λ ~ 800 nm, combined with an appreciable translucency within the visible light spectrum, is indicative of the potential applications in coatings technologies and solar cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-400
Number of pages14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 05 Jun 2024


  • photonic crystals
  • near-infrared spectroscopy
  • polymer composites
  • micro-particles
  • thin-film coatings


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