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Keywords:

  • photonic structures;
  • tandem and gradient architectures;
  • nanoparticle thin films;
  • nanoporous bragg mirrors;
  • white-light reflectors

Abstract

To manipulate electrons in semiconductor electronic and optical devices, the usual approach is through materials composition, electronic bandgap, doping, and interface engineering. More advanced strategies for handling electrons in semiconductor devices include composition-controlled heterostructures and gradient structures. By analogy to the manipulation of electrons in semiconductor crystals by electronic bandgaps, photons in photonic crystals can be managed using photonic bandgaps. In this context, the simplest photonic crystal is the Bragg mirror, a periodic dielectric construct whose photonic bandgap is engineered through variations of the optical thickness of its constituent layers. Traditionally the materials comprising these periodic dielectric layers are nonporous, and they have mainly been used in the field of optical and photonic devices. More recently these Bragg mirrors have been made porous by building the layers from nanoparticles with functionality and utility that exploit their internal voids. These structures are emerging in the area of photonic color-coded chemical sensing and controlled chemical release. Herein, a strategy for enhancing the functionality and potential utility of nanoparticle Bragg mirrors by making the constituent dielectric layers aperiodic and porous is described. It is exemplified by prototypical tandem and gradient structures that are fully characterized with regards to their structure, porosity, and optical and photonic properties.