Bioinspired Photonic Crystals: Design, Structure and Function

Dr. Michael Barti
Department of Chemistry
University of Utah

The strikingly colorful world of insects is in large part the result of interaction of light with precisely ordered, periodic biopolymeric structures. Such structural colors have recently gained tremendous interest for the use as photonic crystals with promising potential for energy and information technology. In this talk, I will present several unique photonic architectures “engineered” by beetles. I will also introduce sol-gel chemistry methods developed in my group to convert these biopolymeric structures into high-dielectric inorganic replica with a variety of lattice geometries and photonic bandgaps at visible frequencies. In addition, I will show that the strong variation of the photonic density of states in these bioinspired architectures can be used to control the excited state dynamics of incorporated light sources—a property of great importance for future applications ranging from solar energy conversion to light amplification and quantum optics.