Photonic shape memory (SM) polymers based on liquid crystalline blue phase (BP) films have been fabricated by self-assembly and subsequent photopolymerization of liquid-crystal mixtures. These freestanding BP films exhibit narrow photonic band gaps and high reflectivity in the visible wavelength range. Multiple blue-shift colors are achieved by SM programming process at different mechanical pressures. The blue-shift colors can be attributed to a decrease of effective BP pitch along the viewing direction caused by the compressed deformation of the BP films, which are confirmed by a three-dimensional interometric profile. The deformed BP films can recover to their original shapes and reflecting colors by heating the polymer films to temperatures above the glass-transition temperature. Quantitative relationships between the shape change and optical response are established for understanding this SM effect. What is more, the temporary photonic patterns can be reversibly written and erased for dozens of cycles without apparent degradation, making these freestanding BP films appealing as rewritable photonic papers and optical sensors.
- liquid crystalline blue phase
- photonic pattern
- shape memory polymers