Photonic Crystals Self-Assembled from Colloidal Particles

Scientists have worked for decades to get colloidal spheres to arrange themselves in sparser lattices, which would unleash potentially valuable optical properties. The structures, called photonic crystals, could increase the efficiency of lasers, make optical components even smaller, and increase engineers’ ability to control the flow of light.

Now, New York University researchers report a pathway toward the self-assembly of these elusive photonic crystal structures never assembled before on the sub-micrometer scale.

Their research introduces a new design principle based on preassembled components of the desired superstructure, much as a prefabricated house begins as a collection of pre-built sections.

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