A research team led by Prof. Seung-Man Yang of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering has found a method to fabricate photonic Janus balls with isotropic structural colors.
The finding draws attention since the newly-fabricated photonic balls may prove useful pigments for the realization of e-paper or flexible electronic displays.
The breakthrough was published in the Nov. 3 edition of the science journal "Advanced Materials." The Nov. 6 issue of "Nature" also featured it as one of the research highlights under the title of "Future Pixels."
Prof. Yang"s research team found that tiny marbles, black on one side and colored on the other, can be made by "curing" suspensions of silica particles with an ultraviolet lamp. When an electric field is applied, the marbles line up so that the black sides all face upwards, which suggests they may prove useful pigments for flexible electronic displays.
The researchers suspended a flow of carbon-black particles mixed with silica and a transparent or colored silica flow in a resin that polymerizes under ultraviolet light. They then passed the mixture through a tiny see-through tube. The light solidified the silica and resin as balls with differently colored regions, each about 200 micrometers in diameter.
Over the last decades, the development of industrial platforms to artificially fabricate structural color pigments has been a pressing issue in the research areas of materials science and optics. Prof. Yang, who is also the director of the National Creative Research Initiative Center for Integrated Optofluidic Systems, has led the researches focused on fabrication of functional nano-materials through the process of assembling nano-building blocks into designed patterns.
The "complementary hybridization of optical and fluidic devices for integrated optofluidic systems" research was supported by a grant from the Creative Research Initiative Program of the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology.
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