New polymeric matrices are presented that embed organic colloidal crystalline arrays (CCA’s) into mechanically stable photonic bandgap structures. We achieved these new matrices either by dispersing polystyrene CCA’s with high molecular weight hydrophilic polymer [poly(ethylene glycol); (PEG)] or through in situ polymerization of hydrophilic monomers (acrylamide and acrylate functional PEG variants) about the CCA. CCA-dispersed PEG matrices exhibited strong red opalescence with a narrow peak at 614 nm and were sufficiently rigid to withstand repeated mechanical deformation. Visible photonic bandgaps also were observed from free-standing CCA composites with cross-linked matrices. The results demonstrate the technological potential for robust organic photonic crystals.
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