A Caltech Library Service

Structural color three-dimensional printing by shrinking photonic crystals

Liu, Yejing and Wang, Hao and Ho, Jinfa and Ng, Ryan C. and Ng, Ray J. H. and Hall-Chen, Valerian H. and Koay, Eleen H. H. and Dong, Zhaogang and Liu, Hailong and Qiu, Cheng-Wei and Greer, Julia R. and Yang, Joel K. W. (2019) Structural color three-dimensional printing by shrinking photonic crystals. Nature Communications, 10 . Art. No. 4340. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC6761189.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] PDF (Peer Review File) - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The coloration of some butterflies, Pachyrhynchus weevils, and many chameleons are notable examples of natural organisms employing photonic crystals to produce colorful patterns. Despite advances in nanotechnology, we still lack the ability to print arbitrary colors and shapes in all three dimensions at this microscopic length scale. Here, we introduce a heat-shrinking method to produce 3D-printed photonic crystals with a 5x reduction in lattice constants, achieving sub-100-nm features with a full range of colors. With these lattice structures as 3D color volumetric elements, we printed 3D microscopic scale objects, including the first multi-color microscopic model of the Eiffel Tower measuring only 39 µm tall with a color pixel size of 1.45 µm. The technology to print 3D structures in color at the microscopic scale promises the direct patterning and integration of spectrally selective devices, such as photonic crystal-based color filters, onto free-form optical elements and curved surfaces.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Ho, Jinfa0000-0001-6884-4785
Ng, Ryan C.0000-0002-0527-9130
Dong, Zhaogang0000-0002-0929-7723
Qiu, Cheng-Wei0000-0002-6605-500X
Greer, Julia R.0000-0002-9675-1508
Yang, Joel K. W.0000-0003-3301-1040
Alternate Title:Structural Color 3D Printing By Shrinking Photonic Crystals
Additional Information:© 2019 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit Received 15 May 2019; Accepted 23 August 2019; Published 25 September 2019. Data availability: All data are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. J.K.W.Y. acknowledges funding support from the National Research Foundation grant awards NRF-CRP001-021 and CRP20-2017-0004, A*STAR Young Investigatorship (Grant 0926030138), and SUTD Digital Manufacturing and Design (DManD) Center grant RGDM1830303. C.-W.Q. acknowledges the financial support from the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore under its Competitive Research Program (CRP award NRFCRP15-2015-03). We express our gratitude to Robert Edward Simpson, Weiling Dong, and Tian Li for technical support with the temperature-controlled heating stage. Author Contributions: Y.L. designed the experiments, fabricated, and characterized the samples with assistance from H.W. and H.L. J.H. and R.C.N. performed theoretical analysis and FDTD simulations, with assistance from R.J.H.N. V.H.H.-C. fabricated samples and performed theoretical analysis. E.H.H.K. and Z.D. measured the refractive index of the IP-Dip photoresist. Structural color three-dimensional printing by shrinking photonic crystals was conceptualized by J.K.W.Y. in discussions with C.-W.Q. and J.R.G. All authors contributed to writing and revision of the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Research Foundation (Singapore)NRF-CRP001-021
National Research Foundation (Singapore)CRP20-2017-0004
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)0926030138
SUTD Digital Manufacturing and Design (DManD) CenterRGDM1830303
National Research Foundation (Singapore)NRFCRP15-2015-03
PubMed Central ID:PMC6761189
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190626-134011804
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:96744
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Jun 2019 20:49
Last Modified:04 Mar 2020 19:32

Repository Staff Only: item control page