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Multicolor Photonic Pigments for Rotation-Asymmetric Mechanochromic Devices.


Photonic crystals are extensively explored to replace inorganic pigments and organic dyes as coloring elements in printing, painting, sensing, and anti-counterfeiting due to their brilliant structural colors, chemical stability, and environmental friendliness. However, most existing photonic-crystal-based pigments can only display monochromatic colors once made, and generating multicolors has to start with designing different building blocks. Here, a novel photonic pigment featuring highly tunable structural colors in the entire visible spectrum, made by the magnetic assembly of monodisperse nanorods into body-centered-tetragonal photonic crystals, is reported. Their prominent magnetic and crystal anisotropy makes it efficient to generate multicolors using one photonic pigment by magnetically controlling the crystal orientation. Further, the combination of angle-dependent diffraction and magnetic orientation control enables the design of rotation-asymmetric photonic films that display distinct patterns and encrypted information in response to rotation. The efficient multicolor generation through precise orientational control makes this novel photonic pigment promising in developing high-performance structural-colored materials and optical devices.

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