• Colloidal materials;
  • Self-assembly;
  • Hybrid materials;
  • Photonic crystals;
  • Sensors;
  • Surface plasmon resonance


A 2D polystyrene colloidal crystal self-assembled on a flat gold surface supports multiple photonic and plasmonic propagating resonance modes. For both classes of modes, the quality factors can exceed 100, higher than the quality factor of surface plasmons (SP) at a polymer–gold interface. The spatial energy distribution of those resonance modes are carefully studied by measuring the optical response of the hybrid plasmonic–photonic crystal after coating with dielectric materials under different coating profiles. Computer simulations with results closely matching those of experiments provide a clear picture of the field distribution of each resonance mode. For the SP modes, there is strong confinement of electromagnetic energy near the metal surface, while for optical modes, the field is confined inside the spherical particles, far away from the metal. Coating of dielectric material on the crystal results in a large shift in optical features. A surface sensor based on the hybrid plasmonic–photonic crystal is proposed, and it is shown to have atomic layer sensitivity. An example of ethanol vapor sensing based on physisorption of ethanol onto the sensor surface is demonstrated.