Researchers at the Institute of Cybernetics of the Italian National Council of Research (CNR) have prepared a highly transparent and luminescent nanocomposite by incorporating colloidal semiconductor quantum rods of nanometre size into a polymer matrix. Shortly afterwards, the team patterned the nanocomposite to create a novel 2D hybrid photonic crystal (PC) slab.

The highly transparent hybrid organic/inorganic nanocomposite is formed by using inorganic nanorods, core/shell CdSe/CdS quantum rods, as inclusions in an organic polymer matrix. The structure has been prepared as a film in which each domain/inclusion can perform a specific photonic or optoelectronic (combined electronic and photonic) function. A semiconductor nanocrystal-based 2D-PC pattern was uniformly fabricated by electron beam lithography over a large area of 2 × 2 mm2.

Orange emission

To characterize the nanostructures, white light was introduced from an edge of the glass and propagated inside the slab. When it came to investigating the vertical extraction of the light (light propagating in the glass substrate which is extracted by diffraction), the researchers found a very narrow orange emission band with a full width at half maximum (FWHM) of 10 nm. The main peak corresponds to the apparent resonant mode of the PC.

The group's results are extremely appealing in view of the technological impact of hybrid metamaterials such as photonic crystals on the development of new high-performance optical devices such as organic light-emitting diodes, ultra-low threshold lasers and non-linear devices.

Further information can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.