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Self-Assembly of Block Copolymers for Photonic-Bandgap Materials

  • Jongseung Yoon, Wonmok Lee and Edwin L. Thomas

Self-assembled block copolymer systems with an appropriate molecular weight to produce a length scale that will interact with visible light are an alternative platform material for the fabrication of large-area, well-ordered photonic-bandgap structures at visible and near-IR frequencies.Over the past years, one-, two-, and three-dimensional photonic crystals have been demonstrated with various microdomain structures created through microphase separation of block copolymers. The size and shape of periodic microstructures of block copolymers can be readily tuned by molecular weight, relative composition of the copolymer, and blending with homopolymers or plasticizers.The versatility of photonic crystals based on block copolymers is further increased by incorporating inorganic nanoparticles or liquid-crystalline guest molecules (or using a liquid-crystalline block), or by selective etching of one of the microdomains and backfilling with high-refractive-index materials. This article presents an overview of photonic-bandgap materials enabled by self-assembled block copolymers and discusses the morphology and photonic properties of block-copolymer-based photonic crystals containing nanocomposite additives.We also provide a view of the direction of future research, especially toward novel photonic devices.

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