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Photonic Materials
Tailoring nano- and mesoscopic order can lead to totally new, so-called photonic properties. At the core of the design of these new materials lies the intelligent way structures are assembled on length scales comparable to the wavelength of light. By tuning the degree of order or disorder we can explore photonic properties in a completely new regime. We have recently demonstrated that short-range-order induced Bragg backscattering resonances can lead to a strong wavelength dependence of the optical transmission. We want to transfer this fundamental optical effect to the design of optical filters and windows that can change reversibly from opaque to clear. Tailoring optical transport properties can also be used to improve light harvesting performance of solar cells.
Key questions:

Do we need perfect photonic crystals or can amorphous photonic materials be used instead?

How can we reach fast and efficient self-assembly of structures with photonic properties?

Which chemical substances are best suited to design photonic materials?
Prof. Dr. Frank Scheffold frank.scheffold@unifr.ch
(Picture: Courtesy of L. Froufe, E. Sahagun and J.J. Saenz http://www.uam.es/mole)