3D optical metamaterials

Replication of 3D nanostructured networks into plasmonic metals gives rise to optical metamaterials

The individual, chemically distinct, blocks of a three-dimensionally ordered polymeric network can be etched separately. Voiding one network results in a porous scaffold that can be backfilled with plasmonic metals (e.g., Ag, Au) in order to create novel materials with interesting optical properties. This route provides an elegant way to replicate self-assembled structures into materials that are not amenable to forming such complex morphologies.

Fabrication of metamaterials by self-assembly of block copolymers.

The gyroid is an interesting morphology formed by the self-assembly of block copolymers. Due to its unique geometry (i.e., chiral, periodic and continuous) the gyroid can serve as a template for the fabrication of nanostructured plasmonic metals, which can act as optical metamaterials. In this project we work on the controlled manufacture of metamaterials by: (i) understanding the self-assembly of terpolymer thin films during a solvent vapour annealing experiment; (ii) fulfilling the polymer templates by means of a metal electrodeposition step (e.g., Au) and the subsequent removal of the polymer template; (iii) and performing optical characterization on the fabricated structures. 

The resulting gyroid optical metamaterials exhibit strongly anisotropic plasmon modes with pronounced dichroism and optical activity across the visible wavelength region.

Experimental techniques: SEM, SAXS, polarized light microscopy, transmission and reflection goniometry, polymer solvent annealing, electroplating.

Main investigator

Involved people