Yan, Z., Zhang, Z., Wu, W., Ji, X., Sun, S., Jiang, Y., … Zhao, R. (2021). Floating solid-state thin films with dynamic structural colour. Nature Nanotechnology, 16(7), 795–801. doi:10.1038/s41565-021-00883-7
Thin-film architectures are a staple in a wide range of technologies, such as semiconductor devices, optical coatings, magnetic recording, solar cells and batteries. Despite the industrial success of thin-film technology, mostly due to the easy fabrication and low cost, a fundamental drawback remains: it is challenging to alter the features of the film once fabricated. Here we report a methodology to modify the thickness and sequence of the innermost solid-state thin-film layers. We start with a thin-film stack of amorphous iron oxide and silver. By applying a suitable voltage bias and then reversing it, we can float the silver layer above or below the oxide layer by virtue of the migration of silver atoms. Scanning transmission electron microscopy reveals various sequences and thicknesses of the silver and oxide layers achieved with different experimental conditions. As a proof-of-principle, we show a dynamic change of structural colours of the stack derived from this process. Our results may offer opportunities to dynamically reconfigure thin-film-based functional nanodevices in situ.
This research / project is supported by the China - National Key R&D Program
Grant Reference no. : 2018YFE0200200
This research / project is supported by the National Research Foundation - Competitive Research Program
Grant Reference no. : NRF-CRP22-2019-0006
This research / project is supported by the Advanced Research an Technology Innovation Center (ARTIC) - Advanced Research an Technology Innovation Center (ARTIC)
Grant Reference no. : R-261-518-004-720
This research / project is supported by the A*STAR - Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) Individual Research Grant (IRG)
Grant Reference no. : R-263-000-E55-331
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Nature Nanotechnology. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41565-021-00883-7.