Color printing has historically been achieved through the use of dyes and colorants that are applied onto surfaces. Structural color due to periodic nanostructures that diffract light can also produce vibrant colors, but suffers from color variation with viewing angle. On the other hand, metal nanostructures have been shown to produce resonances in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum. This phenomenon allows us to create colors using precision lithography techniques. In this project, we aim to apply this plasmonic color printing methods to print onto curved surfaces. This technique is crucial as it allows for a novel and potentially high-throughput method of applying prints in the manufacturing of curved products


Image 1: Scanning electron micrograph of a plasmonic color pixel design. Colors are produced due to free-electron oscillations in Ag nanodisks supported by dielectric nanopost of hydrogen silsesquioxane (HSQ).


Image 2: Optical micrograph of a 100,000 dpi color print of the Lena test image

[adapted from K. Kumar, H. Duan, R. S. Hegde, S. C. W. Koh, J. N. Wei, and J. K. W. Yang, “Printing colour at the optical diffraction limit.,” Nat. Nanotechnol. 7, 557–61 (2012).


Image 3: Schematic showing the evolution of nanostructure designs for plasmonic color prints. Instead of isolated silver and gold nanodisks, nanostructures can be made in solid silver substrates