Photonic Papers and Inks: Color Writing with Colorless Materials


  • This work has been supported in part by an AFOSR-MURI grant awarded to the UW, and a Fellowship from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Y.X. is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2000) and a Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar (2002). H.F. thanks the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan for the financial support to study at an abroad university or research institute.


A photonic paper/ink system for color writing on and with colorless materials is described. The “paper” is a 3D crystal of polymer beads embedded in an elastomer matrix made of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), and the “ink” is a liquid (e.g., a silicone fluid or organic solvent) capable of swelling the matrix, changing the lattice constant and hence wavelength of light diffracted (see Figure and cover).