25th Anniversary Article: Ordered Polymer Structures for the Engineering of Photons and Phonons



The engineering of optical and acoustic material functionalities via construction of ordered local and global architectures on various length scales commensurate with and well below the characteristic length scales of photons and phonons in the material is an indispensable and powerful means to develop novel materials. In the current mature status of photonics, polymers hold a pivotal role in various application areas such as light-emission, sensing, energy, and displays, with exclusive advantages despite their relatively low dielectric constants. Moreover, in the nascent field of phononics, polymers are expected to be a superior material platform due to the ability for readily fabricated complex polymer structures possessing a wide range of mechanical behaviors, complete phononic bandgaps, and resonant architectures. In this review, polymer-centric photonic and phononic crystals and metamaterials are highlighted, and basic concepts, fabrication techniques, selected functional polymers, applications, and emerging ideas are introduced.