A new principle is developed to fabricate temperature-responsive, multicolor photonic coatings that are capable of switching color. The coating is composed of a non-cross-linked liquid crystal siloxane-based elastomer that is interpenetrated through an acrylate-based liquid crystal network. Discrete temperature changes induce phase separation and mixing between the siloxane and the acrylate polymers and change the reflective colors correspondingly. The temperature-responsive color change of the coatings can be programmed by the processing conditions and coating formulation, which allows for the fabrication of photopatterned multicolor images. The photonic ink can be coated on flexible poly(ethylene terephthalate) films using roll-to-roll flexographic printing, making these temperature-responsive, multicolor-changing polymers appealing for applications such as responsive color decors, optical sensors, and anticounterfeit labels.
- cholesteric liquid crystals
- flexographic printing
- photonic coatings
- stimulus-responsive materials
- structural color change