The researchers reveal the secret of their success in the journal Angewandte Chemie: their “photonic pigments” are microcapsules filled with densely packed core–shell colloidal particles.
Conventional coloring agents have a variety of disadvantages: organic dyes tend to fade; inorganic pigments are often based on toxic heavy metals such as chromium. The color we see results from the absorption of a portion of the visible light spectrum. The reflected portions add to the color observed.
Another way to produce color that works without absorption is widely found in nature – in butterflies, for example. Arrays of nanoscopic particles can appear to be colored as a result of wavelength-dependent optical interference, refraction, and light scattering.
The color depends on the size of the particles. However, such structural pigments iridesce, meaning that the observed color varies in accordance with the angle of illumination or the viewing angle. In displays and many other applications, this would naturally be very annoying. The high degree of order in the particles of the crystal lattice contributes to this problem.
It is thus desirable to have the particles in a noncrystalline, amorphous arrangement, which is very difficult to achieve. In addition, amorphous structural pigments have thus far had very unsatisfactory color saturation caused by so called multiple scattering. A second type of undesired scattering, so-called incoherent scattering, contributes to a blueish background color that makes it difficult to produce a full spectrum of colors, particularly red.
A team from Harvard University (USA), the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and the Korea Electronics Technology Institute has now solved these problems. Their success is due to microcapsules packed with nanoscopic polymer spheres whose core and shell are made of two different polymers. Led by Vinothan N. Manoharan, the scientists designed the shells to have the same refractive index as the surrounding aqueous medium.
The light is thus only scattered by the cores, whose size and distance from each other determine the scattering properties. In a dense packing arrangement, the distance between cores can be determined by the thickness of the shells. If the cores are very small and the shells relatively thick, the undesired types of scattering can be minimized while the desired coherent scattering that is responsible for the structural color dominates.
By using a microfluidic technique, tiny droplets of an aqueous suspension of the core–shell particles are coated with a thin film of oil. They are then shrunken through osmosis until the particles adopt a densely packed arrangement. The soft polymer shells of the particles prevent crystallization. In the last step, the oil film is cured with UV light to make delicate, transparent, capsules.The color of the novel structural pigments can be varied over the entire spectrum by changing the distances of the particle cores from each other by means of the thickness of the shells. The goal is to use these new nanoparticles in reflective displays.
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201309306
Cells migrate collectively by intermittent bursts of activity
30.09.2016 | Aalto University
The structure of the BinAB toxin revealed: one small step for Man, a major problem for mosquitoes!
30.09.2016 | CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)
Heavy construction machinery is the focus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s latest advance in additive manufacturing research. With industry partners and university students, ORNL researchers are designing and producing the world’s first 3D printed excavator, a prototype that will leverage large-scale AM technologies and explore the feasibility of printing with metal alloys.
Increasing the size and speed of metal-based 3D printing techniques, using low-cost alloys like steel and aluminum, could create new industrial applications...
Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.
Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...
Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.
Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.
“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...
With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...
30.09.2016 | Event News
29.09.2016 | Event News
28.09.2016 | Event News
30.09.2016 | Materials Sciences
30.09.2016 | Earth Sciences
30.09.2016 | Life Sciences