Photonic crystals based on silica colloidal crystals (artificial opals) exhibit pronounced stopbands for electromagnetic wave propagation and the corresponding modification of the photon density of states in the visible range. These spectrally selective features can be enhanced by impregnating opals with higher refractive materials like, e.g., polymers. Doping of these structures with dye molecules, semiconductor nanoparticles (quantum dots), and rare-earth ions provides a possibility to examine the challenging theoretical predictions of the inhibited spontaneous emission in photonic bandgap (PBG) materials. First experiments are discussed in which pronounced modification of spontaneous emission spectra and noticeable changes in decay kinetics were observed.
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