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Flexible or Robust Amorphous Photonic Crystals from Network-Forming Block Copolymers for Sensing Solvent Vapors

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posted on 08.03.2018, 00:00 by Cheng-Sian Wu, Po-Yu Tsai, Teng-Yi Wang, En-Li Lin, Yen-Chang Huang, Yeo-Wan Chiang
Large-area and flexible amorphous photonic crystals (APCs) featuring interconnected network microstructures are fabricated using high-molecular-weight polystyrene-block-poly­(methyl methacrylate) (PS–PMMA) block copolymers. Kinetically controlled microphase separation combining with synergistic weak incompatibility gives rise to short-range-order network microstructures, exhibiting noniridescent optical properties. Solubility-dependent solvatochromism with distinct responses to various organic solvent vapors is observed in the network-forming APC film. By taking advantage of photodegradation of the PMMA block, nanoporous network-forming films were prepared for subsequent template synthesis of robust SiO2- and TiO2-based APC films through sol–gel reaction. Consequently, refractive index contrast of the APC film was able to be manipulated, resulting in intensely enhanced reflectivity and increased response rate for detecting solvent vapor. With the integration of self-assembly and photolithography approaches, flexible and robust network-forming APC films with well-defined photopatterned textures are carried out. This can provide a novel means for the design of photopatterned organic or inorganic APC films for sensing solvent vapors.