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Band-gap tunable elastic optical multilayer fibers

Soft photonic fibers that reflect light in the visible spectrum via microscopic multilayer arrangements. The technology is inspired by photonic structures encountered in nature that reflect light to produce vivid and brilliant colors. Key aspects of the invention are the ability to observe the reflected light over a wide range of angles, and the ability to apply strain to the material to change the reflected frequency of light (ranging from red to blue). The fibers have large mechanical flexibility and elasticity and the method can be used with a wide variety of materials. These elastic fibers thus provide a soft and tunable color-dynamic material.

Applications

Shear and stress sensors:

Stress and shear sensors in helmets, indicating internal fissures and damage (e.g. bike helmets, football helmets)
Stress and shear indicators in architecture for visual warning signs in structural engineering, such as in bridges and buildings

Pressure and force sensors:

Stress and force indicators in medical sutures
Pressure indicators in compression bandages
Force sensors, e.g. in nano/microscale engineering
Weight loading indicators

Sensors for solvent detection

Reflectors:

Bicycle reflectors
Car sign reflectors, wide-angle view

Brilliant, colorful coatings:

Smart textiles
Colorful garment coatings
Toys

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