Towards Polymer Opals as Next Generational Functional Materials

  • Giselle Rosetta

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis reports on Polymer Opals, low refractive index contrast photonic crystal thin films that can be engineered to display structural colour (iridescence) across the visible spectrum and beyond. This work examines the synthesis of their constituent core-shell nanoparticles by Emulsion Polymerisation, giving new insights into the polydispersity of the particle distributions and growth rate. There is extensive quantification and characterisation of the structural colour of
Polymer Opals by the application of goniometric reflectometry techniques in terms of CIE 1931 colour spaces; scattering cone plots; and 2D colour appearance projections. A portion of this work is also dedicated to understanding the role of structural disorder from these shear-ordered elastomeric structures. This is in addition to a paradigm shift with the development of Polymer Opals of photonic bandgaps in the ultraviolet-B region, and new characterisation of near-infrared
reflecting films. These structures are furthermore imaged with electron microscopy and analysed with Fourier Transform techniques to gain information on packing quality and structural periodicity length scales. Future work aims to apply these new materials as coatings to photovoltaic devices to enhance the performance and lifetimes of solar cells. This is in addition to promising preliminary work in the realm of mechano-chromism
Date of Award2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorChris Finlayson (Supervisor), Matt Gunn (Supervisor), Mike Butters (Supervisor) & Neil Racz (Supervisor)

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