Emerging Optical Properties from the Combination of Simple Optical Effects


England GT, Aizenberg J. Emerging Optical Properties from the Combination of Simple Optical Effects. Rep. Prog. Phys. [Internet]. 2018;81 (1) :016402.


Structural color arises from the patterning of geometric features or refractive indices of the constituent materials on the length-scale of visible light. Many different organisms have developed structurally colored materials as a means of creating multifunctional structures or displaying colors for which pigments are unavailable. By studying such organisms, scientists have developed artificial structurally colored materials that take advantage of the hierarchical geometries, frequently employed for structural coloration in nature. These geometries can be combined with absorbers—a strategy also found in many natural organisms—to reduce the effects of fabrication imperfections. Furthermore, artificial structures can incorporate materials that are not available to nature—in the form of plasmonic nanoparticles or metal layers—leading to a host of novel color effects. Here, we explore recent research involving the combination of different geometries and materials to enhance the structural color effect or to create entirely new effects, which cannot be observed otherwise.


This work was supported by the NSF Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future program (DMR 1533985).

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Last updated on 05/08/2018