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.

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