Fluoropolymers represent a unique class of functional polymers due to their various interesting and important properties such as thermal stability, resistance toward chemicals, repellent behaviors, and their low refractive indices in comparison to other polymeric materials. Based on the latter optical property, fluoropolymers are particularly of interest for the preparation of photonic crystals for optical sensing application. Within the present study, photonic crystals were prepared based on core-interlayer-shell particles focusing on fluoropolymers. For particle assembly, the melt-shear organization technique was applied. The high order and refractive index contrast of the individual components of the colloidal crystal structure lead to remarkable reflection colors according to Bragg's law of diffraction. Due to the special architecture of the particles, consisting of a soft core, a comparably hard interlayer, and again a soft shell, the resulting opal films were capable of changing their shape and domain sizes upon applied pressure, which was accompanied with a (reversible) change of the observed reflection colors as well. By the incorporation of adjustable amounts of UV cross-linking agents into the opal film and subsequent treatment with different UV irradiation times, stable and pressure-sensitive opal films were obtained. It is shown that the present strategy led to (i) pressure-sensitive opal films featuring reversibly switchable reflection colors and (ii) that opal films can be prepared, for which the written pattern-resulting from the compressed particles-could be fixed upon subsequent irradiation with UV light. The herein described novel fluoropolymer-containing photonic crystals, with their pressure-tunable reflection color, are promising candidates in the field of sensing devices and as potential candidates for anti-counterfeiting materials.
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