Self-assembled Block Polymers with Complete Photonic Band Gaps
We have developed a workflow that allows for theoretical prediction of photonic crystals formed from bottom-up self assembly of block polymers. Using established self-consistent field theory (SCFT) methods, we are able to predict the symmetries of stable periodic structures formed at lengths scales of 10s-100s nm by such materials. Following structure prediction, photonic band structures are predicted by solving Maxwell’s equations on the resulting periodic dielectric profile.
Using this approach, we anticipate the spontaneous formation of optical single-network structures from the self-assembly of bottlebrush block polymers, which we predict will exhibit complete photonic band gaps in 3D. The use of the bottlebrush architecture is crucial for achieving large domain spacings required for band gaps in the near IR and visible region. Such materials are very challenging to fabricate at the appropriate length-scales from top-down approaches. Our predictions will be tested in real bottlebrush materials by our synthesis and characterization teams.