Polymeric Photonic Crystals for Sensing

E.L. Thomas
Rice University, US

Keywords: self assembly, photonic, block copolymers, responsive


We employ polymers to fabricate 3D photonic crystals via self assembly and 3d interference lithography. Polymers have inherently low dielectric constants, so the addition of high dielectric nanoparticles to the polymer photonic crystal or the infiltration around the polymeric template can increase dielectric contrast and provide more robust band gaps. Polymers are inherently responsive to external stimuli such as pH, temperature, stress and therefore make good sensing elements through shift of the band gap position. Experimental work includes block copolymer and photopolymerization approaches to 2D and 3D photonic crystals including the targeted sequestration of metallic and dielectric particles within the periodic structures. We developed the level set approach for defining candidate champion photonic crystals with large band gaps that are fabricable via interference lithography. Future progress in nanophotonics will rely on finding structures, materials and process pathways that enable versatile fabrication of desirable stimulus responsive photonic crystals.