Tailoring disorder and quality of photonic glass templates for structural coloration by particle charge interactions
To obtain high-quality homogeneous photonic glass-based structural color films over large areas, it is essential to precisely control the degree of disorder of the spherical particles used and reduce the crack density within the films as much as possible. To tailor the disorder and quality of photonic glasses, a heteroaggregation-based process was developed by employing two oppositely charged equal-sized polystyrene (PS) particle types. The influence of the particle size ratio on the extent of heteroaggregation in the suspension mixes is investigated and correlated with both the morphology and the resultant optical properties of the films. The results show that the oppositely charged particle size ratio within the mix greatly influences the assembled structure in the films, affecting their roughness, crack density, and the coffee-ring formation. To better differentiate the morphology of the films, scanning electron microscopy images of the microstructures were classified by a supervised training of a deep convolutional neural network model to find distinctions that are inaccessible by conventional image analysis methods. Selected compositions were then infiltrated with TiO2 via atomic layer deposition, and after removal of the PS spheres, surfacelated inverse photonic glasses were obtained. Different color impressions and optical properties were obtained depending on the heteroaggregation level and thus the quality of the resultant films. The best results regarding the stability of the films and suppression of coffee-ring formation are obtained with a 35 wt % positively charged over negatively charged particle mix, which yielded enhanced structural coloration associated with improved film quality, tailored by the heteroaggregation fabrication process.
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This study was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) projektnummer 192346071, SFB 986, projects C4 and C2. K.P.F. also gratefully acknowledges Prof. Robert Blick and Dr. Robert Zierold for the access to the profilometer of the Center for Hybrid Nanostructures at the University of Hamburg,Germany