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Luís M. Fortes, M. Clara Goncalves, Rui M. Almeida

Processing optimization and optical properties of 3-D photonic crystals

Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids 355 (2009) 1189–1192

The synthesis optimization of three-dimensional photonic crystals (direct and inverse opals) is discussed in terms of the influence of processing parameters on the final optical quality. A colloidal/sol-gel route, starting with the self-organization of polystyrene microspheres into opal structures by convective self-assembly, followed by infiltration with a dielectric matrix precursor sol and heat treatment, has been followed. Several substrate hydrophilization methods have been tested and different substrates. Sol-gel infiltration of the opal template interstices with silica was achieved by dip-coating or micro-syringe application and it was followed by removal of the polymeric template. The concentration of the colloidal sol, containing polystyrene spheres of 235 or 460 nm in diameter, was optimized. The structural and optical properties of the opals and inverse opals have been studied by field emission scanning electron microscopy and optical reflectivity spectroscopy, in order to assess the relationship between their structure and the photonic properties obtained. By using borosilicate glass substrates hydrophilized with hydrochloric acid, colloidal photonic crystals of good quality have been obtained, with well ordered regions up to ~100 μm2. By monitoring the effective refractive index change with relative humidity of the surrounding atmosphere, using spectroscopic ellipsometry with an environmental chamber, it was concluded that the present photonic crystals are suitable for humidity sensing applications.

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