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July 24th, 2007
Researcher Jeremy Baumberg and his team developed polymer opals to combine the precise structure of manmade photonic crystals with the colour of natural structures.
The polymer opal films are made of arrays of spheres stacked in three dimensions, rather than layers.
They also contain carbon nanoparticles wedged between the spheres. The light also scatters off the nanoparticles and not just from the interfaces between the plastic spheres and the surrounding materials.
The technique makes the film look intensely coloured, even though they are made from only transparent and black components that are environmentally benign.
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