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Submicrometer Dimple Array Based Interference Color Field Displays and Sensors

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journal contribution
posted on 2007-02-14, 00:00 authored by H. J. Lezec, J. J. McMahon, O. Nalamasu, P. M. Ajayan
We report a technique for producing bright color fields over extended surfaces, via optical interference, with the capability of producing arbitrary visible colors in areas as small as 100 μm2. Periodic arrays of submicrometer dimples are fabricated on reflective silicon surfaces, and diffraction-induced mutual interference of light reflected from the upper and lower levels of the dimpled surfaces generates color depending on wavelength scaled dimple depth and periodicity. Colors of the entire visible spectrum can be generated by dimple arrays with different dimple depths. The topological permeability of such an open surface readily allows infusion of liquids, with different refractive indices, for color switching and detection. These easy to fabricate, scalable, robust devices, on solid as well as flexible supports, could find a wide range of applications such as cheap high-resolution printable dye/pigment-free displays, reliable index-of-refraction sensors with color readout for liquids, and lab-on-chip liquid flow monitors.