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Langmuir. 2009 Nov 17;25(22):12860-4. doi: 10.1021/la903077r.

Optical analysis of the fine crystalline structure of artificial opal films.

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Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Sevilla, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Sevilla, Spain.


Herein, we present a detailed analysis of the structure of artificial opal films. We demonstrate that, rather than the generally assumed face centered cubic lattice of spheres, opal films are better approximated by rhombohedral assemblies of distorted colloids. Detailed analysis of the optical response in a very wide spectral range (0.4 < or = a/lambda < or = 2, where a is the conventional lattice constant), as well as at perpendicular and off-normal directions, unambiguously shows that the interparticle distance coincides very approximately with the expected diameter only along directions contained in the same close-packed plane but differs significantly in directions oblique to the [111] one. A full description of the real and reciprocal lattices of actual opal films is provided, as well as of the photonic band structure of the proposed arrangement. The implications of this distortion in the optical response of the lattice are discussed.


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