Structural coloration provides a great potential for various applications due to unique optical properties distinguished from conventional pigment colors. Structural colors are nonfading, iridescent, and tunable, which is difficult to achieve with pigments. In addition, structural color is potentially less toxic than pigments. However, it is challenging to develop structural colors because elaborate nanostructures are a prerequisite for the coloration. Furthermore, it is highly suggested the nanostructures be patterned at various length scales on a large area to provide practical formats. There have been intensive studies to develop pragmatic methods for producing structural-color patterns in a controlled manner using either colloidal crystals or glasses. This article reviews the current state of the art in the structural-color patterning based on the colloidal arrays. We first discuss common and different features between colloidal crystals and glasses. We then categorize colloidal arrays into six distinct structures of 3D opals, inverse opals, non-close-packed arrays, 2D colloidal crystals, 1D colloidal strings, and 3D amorphous arrays and study various methods to make them patterned from recent key contributions. Finally, we outline the current challenges and future perspectives of the structural-color patterns.
Keywords: colloidal crystals; colloidal glasses; micropatterns; photonic crystals; structural colors.
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