Band structure and optical properties of opal photonic crystals

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Pavarini, E. ; Andreani, L. C. ; Soci, C. ; Galli, M. ; Marabelli, F. ; Comoretto, D. (2005)

A theoretical approach for the interpretation of reflectance spectra of opal photonic crystals with fcc structure and (111) surface orientation is presented. It is based on the calculation of photonic bands and density of states corresponding to a specified angle of incidence in air. The results yield a clear distinction between diffraction in the direction of light propagation by (111) family planes (leading to the formation of a stop band) and diffraction in other directions by higher-order planes (corresponding to the excitation of photonic modes in the crystal). Reflectance measurements on artificial opals made of self-assembled polystyrene spheres are analyzed according to the theoretical scheme and give evidence of diffraction by higher-order crystalline planes in the photonic structure.
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