Dynamic swelling of tunable full-color block copolymer photonic gels via counterion exchange. Academic Article uri icon


  • One-dimensionally periodic block copolymer photonic lamellar gels with full-color tunability as a result of a direct exchange of counteranions were fabricated via a two-step procedure comprising the self-assembly of a hydrophobic block-hydrophilic polyelectrolyte block copolymer, polystyrene-b-poly(2-vinyl pyridine) (PS-b-P2VP), followed by sequential quaternization of the P2VP layers in 1-bromoethane solution. Depending on the hydration characteristics of each counteranion, the selective swelling of the block copolymer lamellar structures leads to large tunability of the photonic stop band from blue to red wavelengths. More extensive quaternization of the P2VP block allows the photonic lamellar gels to swell more and red shift to longer wavelength. Here, we investigate the dynamic swelling behavior in the photonic gel films through time-resolved in situ measurement of UV-vis transmission. We model the swelling behavior using the transfer matrix method based on the experimentally observed reflectivity data with substitution of appropriate counterions. These tunable structural color materials may be attractive for numerous applications such as high-contrast displays without using a backlight, color filters, and optical mirrors for flexible lasing.

published proceedings

  • ACS Nano

altmetric score

  • 23.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Lim, H. S., Lee, J., Walish, J. J., & Thomas, E. L.

citation count

  • 117

complete list of authors

  • Lim, Ho Sun||Lee, Jae-Hwang||Walish, Joseph J||Thomas, Edwin L

publication date

  • October 2012