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Electrically Tunable Soft-Solid Block Copolymer Structural Color

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journal contribution
posted on 22.12.2015, 00:00 by Tae Joon Park, Sun Kak Hwang, Sungmin Park, Sung Hwan Cho, Tae Hyun Park, Beomjin Jeong, Han Sol Kang, Du Yeol Ryu, June Huh, Edwin L. Thomas, Cheolmin Park
One-dimensional photonic crystals based on the periodic stacking of two different dielectric layers have been widely studied, but the fabrication of mechanically flexible polymer structural color (SC) films, with electro-active color switching, remains challenging. Here, we demonstrate free-standing electric field tunable ionic liquid (IL) swollen block copolymer (BCP) films. Placement of a polymer/ionic liquid film-reservoir adjacent to a self-assembled poly(styrene-block-quaternized 2-vinylpyridine) (PS-b-QP2VP) copolymer SC film allowed the development of red (R), green (G), and blue (B) full-color SC block copolymer films by swelling of the QP2VP domains by the ionic liquid associated with water molecules. The IL–polymer/BCP SC film is mechanically flexible with excellent color stability over several days at ambient conditions. The selective swelling of the QP2VP domains could be controlled by both the ratio of the IL to a polymer in the gel-like IL reservoir layer and by an applied voltage in the range of −3 to +6 V using a metal/IL reservoir/SC film/IL reservoir/metal capacitor type device.