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A glass for all colors

By Paul Grad |

Colloidal glasses develop structural color through constructive interference. The color can be tuned by adjusting interparticle distance, making the colloidal glasses attractive for use as color pigments for use in coatings, displays, colorimetric sensors and optical barcodes. While colloidal crystals exhibit brilliant color with wavelengths that are strongly angle-dependent, colloidal glasses with only short-range order provide dim, but angle-independent structural color due to their isotropic nature. There are a number of ways to prepare colloidal glasses, but it is difficult to produce red color with them because a cavity-like mode from individual particles yields strong backscattering in blue, overwhelming the resonance in red from the glassy colloidal array. To develop red structural color, the optical length within particles must be shortened. Now a group from the Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST; Daejeon, South Korea; www.kaist.ac.kr), led by professor Shin-Hyun Kim, used inverse glassy structures to develop noniridescent colors in the full visible range. The air cavities have short optical lengths, yielding weak cavity resonance out of the visible…
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