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Structural Multi-Colour Invisible Inks with Submicron 4D Printing of Shape Memory Polymers

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posted on 2023-11-30, 20:18 authored by Wang Zhang, Hao Wang, Hongtao Wang, John You En Chan, Hailong Liu, Biao Zhang, Yuan-Fang Zhang, Komal Agarwal, Xiaolong Yang, Hong Yee Low, Qi Ge, Joel K. W. Yang
Four-dimensional (4D) printing of shape memory polymer (SMP) imparts time responsive properties to 3D structures. Here, we explore 4D printing of a SMP in the submicron length scale, extending its applications to nanophononics. We report a new SMP photoresist based on Vero Clear achieving print features at a resolution of ~300 nm half pitch using two-photon polymerization lithography (TPL). Prints consisting of grids with size-tunable multi-colours enabled the study of shape memory effects to achieve large visual shifts through nanoscale structure deformation. As the nanostructures are flattened, the colours and printed information become invisible. Remarkably, the shape memory effect recovers the original surface morphology of the nanostructures along with its structural colour within seconds of heating above its glass transition temperature. The high-resolution printing and excellent reversibility in both microtopography and optical properties promises a platform for temperature-sensitive labels, information hiding for anti-counterfeiting, and tunable photonic devices.

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