A biological tissue-inspired tunable photonic fluid.
Inspired by how cells pack in dense biological tissues, we design 2D and 3D amorphous materials which possess a complete photonic band gap. A physical parameter based on how cells adhere with one another and regulate their shapes can continuously tune the photonic band gap size as well as the bulk mechanical properties of the material. The material can be tuned to go through a solid-fluid phase transition characterized by a vanishing shear modulus. Remarkably, the photonic band gap persists in the fluid phase, giving rise to a photonic fluid that is robust to flow and rearrangements. Experimentally this design should lead to the engineering of self-assembled non-rigid photonic structures with photonic band gaps that can be controlled in real time via mechanical and thermal tuning.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1608.06334