Self-assembled tunable photonic hyper-crystals

Vera N. Smolyaninova, Townson University
Bradley Yost, Townson University
David Lhneman, Townson University
Evgenii Narimanov, Purdue University, Birck Nanotechnology Center
Igor I. Smolyaninov, University of Maryland - College Park

Date of this Version



This is the publisher PDF version of Smolyaninova, VN; Yost, B; Lahneman, D; Narimanov, EE; and Smolyaninov, II. "Self-assembled tunable photonic hyper-crystals." Scientific Reports, 4:5706. 2014. Published with Nature Publishing Group, available at


We demonstrate a novel artificial optical material, the "photonic hyper-crystal'', which combines the most interesting features of hyperbolic metamaterials and photonic crystals. Similar to hyperbolic metamaterials, photonic hyper-crystals exhibit broadband divergence in their photonic density of states due to the lack of usual diffraction limit on the photon wave vector. On the other hand, similar to photonic crystals, hyperbolic dispersion law of extraordinary photons is modulated by forbidden gaps near the boundaries of photonic Brillouin zones. Three dimensional self-assembly of photonic hyper-crystals has been achieved by application of external magnetic field to a cobalt nanoparticle-based ferrofluid. Unique spectral properties of photonic hyper-crystals lead to extreme sensitivity of the material to monolayer coatings of cobalt nanoparticles, which should find numerous applications in biological and chemical sensing.


Nanoscience and Nanotechnology