Structural color arising from nanostructured metallic surfaces offers many benefits compared to conventional pigmentation based display technologies, such as increased resolution and scalability of their optical response with structure dimensions. However, once these structures are fabricated their optical characteristics remain static, limiting their potential application. But researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF; Orlando, FL), by using a specially designed nanostructured plasmonic surface in conjunction with high-birefringence liquid crystals (LCs), demonstrated a tunable polarization-independent reflective display surface where the color of the surface is changed as a function of applied voltage.
The researchers say that a large range of color tunability is achieved over previous reports by using an engineered surface that allows full LC reorientation while maximizing the overlap between plasmonic fields and LCs. In combination with imprinted structures of varying periods, a full range of colors spanning the entire visible spectrum is achieved, paving the way towards dynamic pixels for reflective displays.
This paper appeared in the June issue of Nature Communications.