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Construction of an array of photonic crystal films for visual differentiation of water/ethanol mixtures

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.Sc.
Date created
A photonic crystals films (PCF) which consists of a porous layered structure with a highly ordered periodic arrangement of nanopores has been used to differentiate between various mixtures of water and ethanol (EtOH). Refractive index difference between the wall (silica) and air which occupies the empty pore results in the structural color of the PCF. This color disappears when the nanopores are infiltrated by a liquid with a similar refractive index to silica (or silicon dioxide). The disappearance of the structural color provides a means to construct a sensor to differentiate various water/EtOH mixtures based on their wettability of the nanopores in the PCF. In this study, an array of silica-based PCFs was synthesized on a silicon substrate with a precise control of nanopore properties using the co-assembly/sedimentation method. Using this method, we benefitted from having different PCFs on a single substrate. Chemical coatings, neck angles, and thicknesses on each PCF were the three factors used to adjust the wettability of the pores. Nanopore wetting by water/EtOH mixtures was studied in a systematic manner and combinations of the three factors were used to develop a sensor for differentiation of various water/EtOH mixtures. The final developed sensor consisting of an array of six PCFs was able to differentiate seven different water/EtOH mixtures: W10, W20, W30, W40, W50, W60 and W70, in which W10 means 10% of water in EtOH.
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Copyright is held by the author.
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Li, Paul C.H.
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