Materials Chemistry

Iridescence from total internal reflection at 3D microscale interfaces: mechanistic insights and spectral analysis

Authors

Abstract

This report describes the experimental investigation and optical modeling of the structural coloration produced from total internal reflection interference within 3D microstructures. Ray tracing simulations coupled with color visualization and spectral analysis techniques are used to model, examine, and rationalize the iridescence generated for a range of micro-geometries, including hemicylinders and truncated hemispheres, under varying illumination conditions. An approach to deconstruct the observed iridescence and complex far-field spectral features into its elementary components and systematically link them to ray trajectories that emanate from the illuminated microstructures is demonstrated. The results are compared with experiments, wherein microstructures are fabricated with methods such as chemical etching, multiphoton lithography, and greyscale lithography. Microstructure arrays patterned on surfaces with varying orientation and size lead to unique color-traveling optical effects and highlight opportunities for how total internal reflection interference can be used to create customizable reflective iridescence. The findings herein provide a robust conceptual framework for rationalizing this multibounce interference mechanism and establish approaches for characterizing and tailoring the optical and iridescent properties of microstructured surfaces.

Content

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Supplementary material

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SI
Supporting Information
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Video S1
Video S1. A sample fabricated by greyscale lithography with a variety of patterned microstructures is rotated under consistent illumination to demonstrate color‐traveling and flashing effects. Real time
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Video S2
Video S2. A sample fabricated by greyscale lithography with a variety of patterned microstructures is tilted under consistent illumination to demonstrate color‐traveling and flashing effects. Real time.
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Publication scripts
Code used to run optical simulations