• Chinese Optics Letters
  • Vol. 20, Issue 3, 030501 (2022)
Jie Zhang1, Dezhi Tan2、*, Kaiqiang Cao3, Tianqing Jia3, and Jianrong Qiu1、4、**
Author Affiliations
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Modern Optical Instrumentation, College of Optical Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
  • 2Zhejiang Lab, Hangzhou 311100, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Precision Spectroscopy, School of Physics and Electronic Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • 4CAS Center for Excellence in Ultra-Intense Laser Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201800, China
  • show less


    Printing stable color with a lithography-free and environment-friendly technique is in high demand for applications. We report a facile strategy of ultrafast laser direct writing (ULDW) to produce large-scale embedded structural colors inside transparent solids. The diffraction effect of gratings enables effective generation of structural colors across the entire visible spectrum. The structural colors inside the fused silica glass have been demonstrated to exhibit excellent thermal stability under high temperature up to 1200°C, which promises that the written information can be stable for long time even with unlimited lifetime at room temperature. The structural colors in the applications of coloring, anti-counterfeiting, and information storage are also demonstrated. Our studies indicate that the presented ULDW allows for fabricating large-scale and high thermal-stability structural colors with prospects of three-dimensional patterning, which will find various applications, especially under harsh conditions such as high temperature.

    1. Introduction

    Structural colors have attracted conspicuous interest due to their fascinating potential in the applications of sensors, optical data storage, information encryption, and display devices. Now, vivid structural colors can be generated through the interaction of light with periodic structures—most of their period (d) is comparable to the light wavelength[13]. Although as frequently suggested that the structural colored materials show superior stability compared with the colored chemical dyes and pigments, their stability at high temperature (e.g.,  >700°C) is intrinsically poor due to the large surface area of the sub-micrometer structures. Furthermore, nearly all of the current structural colors materials are built on substrates with the surface exposed to the environment, and this is inevitably detrimental to the structure stability. Stable structural colors at high temperature will be critical for storing the information for a long time[4]. Various techniques have been developed to fabricate desirable periodic structures for modulating the light field and producing structural colors, such as self-assembly and nanolithography[514]. However, complicated procedures are generally needed in most of the traditional fabrication methods, and limited scalability and lack of robustness still remain major challenges for the real-world applications.