Correlating dynamic microstructure to observed color in electrophoretic displays via in situ small-angle x-ray scattering

SC Bukosky and JA Hammons and B Giera and E Lee and J Han and MC Freyman and A Ivanovskaya and KG Krauter and JD Kuntz and MA Worsley and TYJ Han and WD Ristenpart and AJ Pascall, PHYSICAL REVIEW MATERIALS, 4, 075802 (2020).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevMaterials.4.075802

Electrophoretic deposition (EPD) is an industrially relevant and scalable technique used to form particle deposits from colloidal suspensions. Highly concentrated particle suspensions generally prevent real-time in situ microscopy observations which limit the characterization of EPD films to ex situ, or postprocessed, laboratory techniques. For dynamic systems, such as tunable amorphous photonic crystals (APCs), only reversible deposits are formed during the EPD process. Since reversible deposits cannot be characterized with standard ex situ methods, the particle-particle and particle-field interactions that govern the displayed color and crystallinity of these systems are not well understood. Here, we present in situ small-angle x-ray scattering and UV-Vis techniques for measuring both the structural and optical response of an APC under applied electric fields. We also develop a computational model based on colloidal interactions to explain the observed change in the interparticle spacing of APCs due to the applied electric field which correlates to displayed color. Ultimately, this work provides a new in situ characterization method that could be expanded for other dynamic, tunable colloidal systems.

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