Tunable colors in opals and inverse opal photonic crystals

Carlos I. Aguirre, Edilso Reguera, Andreas Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

512 Scopus citations


Colloidal photonic crystals and materials derived from colloidal crystals can exhibit distinct structural colors that result from incomplete photonic band gaps. Through rational materials design, the colors of such photonic crystals can be tuned reversibly by external physical and chemical stimuli. Such stimuli include solvent and dye infiltration, applied electric or magnetic fields, mechanical deformation, light irradiation, temperature changes, changes in pH, and specific molecular interactions. Reversible color changes result from alterations in lattice spacings, filling fractions, and refractive index of system components. This review article highlights the different systems and mechanisms for achieving tunable color based on opaline materials with closepacked or non-close-packed structural elements and inverse opal photonic crystals. Inorganic and polymeric systems, such as hydrogels, metallopolymers, and elastomers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2565-2578
Number of pages14
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 23 2010


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