Anomalous evolution of broadband optical absorption reveals dynamic solid state reorganization during eumelanin build-up in thin films.
ABSTRACT: The origin of eumelanin optical properties remains a formidable conundrum preventing a detailed understanding of the complex photo-protective role of these widespread natural pigments and the rational design of innovative bioinspired materials for optoelectronic applications. Here we report the unusual kinetic and thickness-dependent evolution of the optical properties of black eumelanin polymers generated by spontaneous aerial polymerization of 5,6-dihydroxyindole (DHI) thin films (0.1-1??m), consistent with peculiar solid state reorganization mechanisms governing broadband absorption. The complete reversal of eumelanin UV-visible transmittance spectrum curvature on passing from 0.2 to 0.5??m thick films, the marked increase in visible extinction coefficients with increasing film thickness and the higher UV extinction coefficients in slowly vs. rapidly generated polymers concur to support distinct dynamic regimes of solid-state molecular reorganization at the nanoscale level and to do affect the development of broadband visible absorption. Solid state control of molecular reorganization disclosed herein may delineate new rational strategies for tuning optical properties in eumelanin thin films for optoelectronic applications.
Project description:Eumelanins, the chief photoprotective pigments in man and mammals, owe their black color to an unusual broadband absorption spectrum whose origin is still a conundrum. Excitonic effects from the interplay of geometric order and disorder in 5,6-dihydroxyindole (DHI)-based oligomeric/polymeric structures play a central role, however the contributions of structural (scaffold-controlled) and redox (?-electron-controlled) disorder have remained uncharted. Herein, we report an integrated experimental-theoretical entry to eumelanin chromophore dynamics based on poly(vinyl alcohol)-controlled polymerization of a large set of 5,6-dihydroxyindoles and related dimers. The results a) uncover the impact of the structural scaffold on eumelanin optical properties, disproving the widespread assumption of a universal monotonic chromophore; b) delineate eumelanin chromophore buildup as a three-step dynamic process involving the rapid generation of oxidized oligomers, termed melanochromes (phase I), followed by a slow oxidant-independent band broadening (phase II) leading eventually to scattering (phase III); c) point to a slow reorganization-stabilization of melanochromes via intermolecular redox interactions as the main determinant of visible broadband absorption.
Project description:High refractive index polymers (HRIPs) have recently emerged as an important class of materials for use in a variety of optoelectronic devices including image sensors, lithography, and light-emitting diodes. However, achieving polymers having refractive index exceeding 1.8 while maintaining full transparency in the visible range still remains formidably challenging. Here, we present a unique one-step vapor-phase process, termed sulfur chemical vapor deposition, to generate highly stable, ultrahigh refractive index (n > 1.9) polymers directly from elemental sulfur. The deposition process involved vapor-phase radical polymerization between elemental sulfur and vinyl monomers to provide polymer films with controlled thickness and sulfur content, along with the refractive index as high as 1.91. Notably, the HRIP thin film showed unprecedented optical transparency throughout the visible range, attributed to the absence of long polysulfide segments within the polymer, which will serve as a key component in a wide range of optical devices.
Project description:The development of broadband and ultracompact optoelectronic devices relies on the possibility of fabricating bright and tunable emitters at the nanoscale. Here, we show emission from EuO x (1 ? x < 1.4) thin films on silicon formed by nanocrystals with average sizes in the range of 5 nm. The photoluminescence emission of the nano-EuO x films is tunable as a function of the oxygen concentration changing from a green broadband Eu2+-related emission to a narrow red Eu3+-related emission. To reach these results has been instrumental through the use of a new methodology specially designed to achieve high-quality europium oxide films whose compositional properties are controlled by the growth base pressure and preserved thanks to a chemically stable and transparent cover layer of Al2O3. Our findings confirm the outstanding potential of nanostructured EuO x films as "one-compound" optical elements with tunable emission properties for their implementation in integrated silicon-based devices.
Project description:In present work, the nano- and microscale tetrapods from zinc oxide were integrated on the surface of Aerographite material (as backbone) in carbon-metal oxide hybrid hierarchical network via a simple and single step magnetron sputtering process. The fabricated hybrid networks are characterized for morphology, microstructural and optical properties. The cathodoluminescence investigations revealed interesting luminescence features related to carbon impurities and inherent host defects in zinc oxide. Because of the wide bandgap of zinc oxide and its intrinsic defects, the hybrid network absorbs light in the UV and visible regions, however, this broadband photoabsorption behavior extends to the infrared (IR) region due to the dependence of the optical properties of ZnO architectures upon size and shape of constituent nanostructures and their doping by carbon impurities. Such a phenomenon of broadband photoabsorption ranging from UV to IR for zinc oxide based hybrid materials is novel. Additionally, the fabricated network exhibits strong visible light scattering behavior. The developed Aerographite/nanocrystalline ZnO hybrid network materials, equipped with broadband photoabsorption and strong light scattering, are very promising candidates for optoelectronic technologies.
Project description:Subwavelength nanostructures are considered as promising building blocks for antireflection and light trapping applications. In this study, we demonstrate excellent broadband antireflection effect from thin films of monolayer silica nanospheres with a diameter of 100 nm prepared by Langmuir-Blodgett method on glass substrates. With a single layer of compact silica nanosphere thin film coated on both sides of a glass, we achieved maximum transmittance of 99% at 560 nm. Furthermore, the optical transmission peak of the nanosphere thin films can be tuned over the UV-visible range by changing processing parameters during Langmuir-Blodgett deposition. The tunable optical transmission peaks of the Langmuir-Blodgett films were correlated with deposition parameters such as surface pressure, surfactant concentration, ageing of suspensions and annealing effect. Such peak-tunable broadband antireflection coating has wide applications in diversified industries such as solar cells, windows, displays and lenses.
Project description:Methylammonium lead triiodide perovskite (CH?NH?PbI?, MAPbI?) has been emerging as an easy processing and benign defect material for optoelectronic devices. Fiber-like perovskite materials are especially in demand for flexible applications. Here we report on a kind of polyacrylonitrile (PAN)/MAPbI? composite fiber, which was electrospun from the mixing solution of PAN and MAPbI?. The absorption edge and optical gap of the PAN/MAPbI? composite fibers can be easily tuned as the ratio of the perovskite changes. Both the moisture stability and the thermal stability of the perovskite are improved with the protection of PAN polymers. Flexible photodetectors based on this perovskite fiber were fabricated and analyzed. The photoresponse of the detector was highly sensitive to broadband visible light, and reached 6.5 ?A W-1 at 700 nm with a voltage bias of 10 V. Compared with pure MAPbI? photodetectors, this composite fiber photodetector has much-improved stability and flexibility, which can even be used to detect motion-related angular changes.
Project description:Coherent light sources in the visible range are playing important roles in our daily life and modern technology, since about 50% of the capability of the our human brains is devoted to processing visual information. Visible lasers can be achieved by nonlinear optical process of infrared lasers and direct lasing of gain materials, and the latter has advantages in the aspects of compactness, efficiency, simplicity, etc. However, due to lack of visible optical modulators, the directly generated visible lasers with only a gain material are constrained in continuous-wave operation. Here, we demonstrated the fabrication of a visible optical modulator and pulsed visible lasers based on atomic-layer molybdenum sulfide (MoS2), a ultrathin two-dimensional material with about 9-10 layers. By employing the nonlinear absorption of the modulator, the pulsed orange, red and deep red lasers were directly generated. Besides, the present atomic-layer MoS2 optical modulator has broadband modulating properties and advantages in the simple preparation process. The present results experimentally verify the theoretical prediction for the low-dimensional optoelectronic modulating devices in the visible wavelength region and may open an attractive avenue for removing a stumbling block for the further development of pulsed visible lasers.
Project description:Optical metamaterials with an artificial subwavelength structure offer new approaches to implement advanced optical devices. However, some of the biggest challenges associated with the development of metamaterials in the visible spectrum are the high costs and slow production speeds of the nanofabrication processes. Here, we demonstrate a macroscale (>35?mm) transformation-optics wave bender (293?mm<sup>2</sup>) and Luneburg lens (855?mm<sup>2</sup>) in the broadband white-light visible wavelength range using the concept of elasto-optic metamaterials that combines optics and solid mechanics. Our metamaterials consist of mesoscopically homogeneous chunks of bulk aerogels with superior, broadband optical transparency across the visible spectrum and an adjustable, stress-tuneable refractive index ranging from 1.43 down to nearly the free space index (?1.074). The experimental results show that broadband light can be controlled and redirected in a volume of >10<sup>5</sup>? × 10<sup>5</sup>? × 10<sup>3</sup>?, which enables natural light to be processed directly by metamaterial-based optical devices without any additional coupling components.
Project description:Increasing performance demands on photodetectors and solar cells require the development of entirely new materials and technological approaches. We report on the fabrication and optoelectronic characterization of a photodetector based on optically-thick films of dense, aligned, and macroscopically long single-wall carbon nanotubes. The photodetector exhibits broadband response from the visible to the mid-infrared under global illumination, with a response time less than 32 ?s. Scanning photocurrent microscopy indicates that the signal originates at the contact edges, with an amplitude and width that can be tailored by choosing different contact metals. A theoretical model demonstrates the photothermoelectric origin of the photoresponse due to gradients in the nanotube Seebeck coefficient near the contacts. The experimental and theoretical results open a new path for the realization of optoelectronic devices based on three-dimensionally organized nanotubes.
Project description:Solution processed metal oxide thin films are important for modern optoelectronic devices ranging from thin film transistors to photovoltaics and for functional optical coatings. Solution processed techniques such as dip-coating, allow thin films to be rapidly deposited over a large range of surfaces including curved, flexible or plastic substrates without extensive processing of comparative vapour or physical deposition methods. To increase the effectiveness and versatility of dip-coated thin films, alterations to commonly used precursors can be made that facilitate controlled thin film deposition. The effects of polymer assisted deposition and changes in solvent-alkoxide dilution on the morphology, structure, optoelectronic properties and crystallinity of vanadium pentoxide thin films was studied using a dip-coating method using a substrate withdrawal speed within the fast-rate draining regime. The formation of sub-100?nm thin films could be achieved rapidly from dilute alkoxide based precursor solutions with high optical transmission in the visible, linked to the phase and film structure. The effects of the polymer addition was shown to change the crystallized vanadium pentoxide thin films from a granular surface structure to a polycrystalline structure composed of a high density of smaller in-plane grains, resulting in a uniform surface morphology with lower thickness and roughness.