Inducing Symmetry Breaking in Nanostructures: Anisotropic Stretch-Tuning Photonic Crystals

Andreas Kontogeorgos, David R. E. Snoswell, Christopher Edward Finlayson, Jeremy J. Baumberg, Peter Spahn, G. Peter Hellmann

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We use elastically induced phase transitions to break the structural symmetry of self-assembled nanostructures, producing significantly modified functional properties. Stretching ordered polymer opals in different directions transforms the fcc photonic crystal into correspondingly distorted monoclinic lattices. This breaks the conventional selection rules for scattering from the crystal planes, yielding extra multiply scattered colors when the phase-breaking stretch is in specific directions. Scattering is spectroscopically tracked in real time as the samples distort, revealing a new phase transition that appears for (121)-oriented deformations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number233909
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 03 Dec 2010


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