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Lotus Seedpod Inspiration: Particle-Nested Double-Inverse Opal Films with Fast and Reversible Structural Color Switching for Information Security

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journal contribution
posted on 27.05.2021, 00:21 by Changtong Zhou, Yong Qi, Shufen Zhang, Wenbin Niu, Suli Wu, Wei Ma, Bingtao Tang
The integration of novel structures into colloidal crystals provides the possibility of constructing stimuli-responsive photonic materials. However, in most opal and inverse opal structures, replacing the interior air with an infiltrated liquid will cause partial refractive index matching, resulting in the reduction or even disappearance of the photonic band gap. Herein, inspired by the lotus seedpod, an innovative particle-nested double-inverse opal film with fast and reversible structural color switching (≈1 s) is first fabricated by introducing polystyrene (PS) spheres into an inverted opal backbone. Importantly, refractive index matching can be effectively avoided due to the existence of internal PS spheres, and optical switching from diffusive to photonic behavior is achieved by a liquid with low surface tension for the response. Furthermore, a reversible ethanol stimuli-response bilayer double-inverse opal film with multistate switching for information encryption is proposed by combining optical scattering and diffraction. The scattered light from the top layer caused by the randomly distributed and weakly scattering PS spheres within the pores makes the pattern at the bottom invisible. Simultaneously, the display and discoloration of the pattern can be realized instantaneously by ethanol response. Thus, this new preparation strategy exhibits great potential in the security fields.