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Non-iridescent structural colors from uniform-sized SiO2 colloids
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Structural colors have recently attracted interest from diverse fields of research due to their ease of fabrication and eco-friendliness. These types of colors are, in principle, achieved by periodically arranged submicron-diameter colloidal particles. The interaction of light with a structure containing long-range ordered colloidal particles leads to coloration; this usually varies depending on the angle of observation (iridescence). However, the majority of the applications demand constant color that is independent of the viewing angle (non-iridescence). In this work, silica colloids were obtained using the Stöber method at different sizes from 150 to 300 nm in an alcoholic dispersion. The casting of the dispersion on a substrate leaves behind a photonic crystal showing a colorful iridescent film. However, centrifugation and redispersion of the SiO2 particles into fresh solvent may cause the formation of small, aggregated silica domains in the new dispersion. The casting of this dispersion allows for the development of photonic glass, presumably due to the accumulation of aggregates showing stable colloidal film independent of viewing angle. Moreover, depending on the size of the silica colloids, non-iridescent photonic glasses with various colors (violet, blue, green, and orange) are obtained.