Block Copolymer Micelles for Photonic Fluids and Crystals

Mikko Poutanen, Giulia Guidetti, Tina I. Gröschel, Oleg V. Borisov, Silvia Vignolini, Olli Ikkala*, Andre H. Gröschel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Block copolymer micelles (BCMs) are self-assembled nanoparticles in solution with a collapsed core and a brush-like stabilizing corona typically in the size range of tens of nanometers. Despite being widely studied in various fields of science and technology, their ability to form structural colors at visible wavelength has not received attention, mainly due to the stringent length requirements of photonic lattices. Here, we describe the precision assembly of BCMs with superstretched corona, yet with narrow size distribution to qualify as building blocks for tunable and reversible micellar photonic fluids (MPFs) and micellar photonic crystals (MPCs). The BCMs form free-flowing MPFs with an average interparticle distance of 150-300 nm as defined by electrosteric repulsion arising from the highly charged and stretched corona. Under quiescent conditions, millimeter-sized MPCs with classical FCC lattice grow within the photonic fluid-medium upon refinement of the positional order of the BCMs. We discuss the generic properties of MPCs with special emphasis on surprisingly narrow reflected wavelengths with full width at half-maximum (fwhm) as small as 1 nm. We expect this concept to open a generic and facile way for self-assembled tunable micellar photonic structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3149-3158
Number of pages10
JournalACS Nano
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • block copolymers
  • micellar crystals
  • photonic crystals
  • self-assembly
  • structural color


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