Generating Bulk-Scale Ordered Optical Materials Using Shear-Assembly in Viscoelastic Media

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Type Review article
Original languageEnglish
Article number688
Number of pages14
Issue number7
Early online date22 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2017
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We review recent advances in the generation of photonics materials over large areas and volumes, using the paradigm of shear-induced ordering of composite polymer nanoparticles. The hard-core/soft-shell design of these particles produces quasi-solid “gum-like” media, with a viscoelastic ensemble response to applied shear, in marked contrast to the behavior seen in colloidal and granular systems. Applying an oscillatory shearing method to sub-micron spherical nanoparticles gives elastomeric photonic crystals (or “polymer opals”) with intense tunable structural color. The further engineering of this shear-ordering using a controllable “roll-to-roll” process known as Bending Induced Oscillatory Shear (BIOS), together with the interchangeable nature of the base composite particles, opens potentially transformative possibilities for mass
manufacture of nano-ordered materials, including advances in optical materials, photonics, and metamaterials/plasmonics.


  • nanoassembly, photonic crystals, polymers, viscoelastic media, shear processing