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Although it is well known that the amazing iridescent colors from the cuticle of beetles reflect intricate nanoscale organization of bio-fibers, artificial inorganic materials with comparable optical response have not yet been synthesized with abiotic nano-building blocks. Such materials have broad applications including circular polarizers, circularly polarized luminescence, lasers, etc. Here, we describe a general method to fabricate biomimetic chiral photonic crystals via Langmuir-Schaefer assembly of colloidal inorganic nanowires. We not only reproduce the intricate helical structure and circularly polarized color reflection in beetles, but also acquire the highest chiroptical activity with a dissymmetry factor of -1.6 among the chiral inorganic nanostructures. More importantly, beyond nature, programmable structural control based on the precise interlayer arrangement endows us an unprecedented freedom to manipulate the optical activity of as-fabricated chiral photonic crystals.
PMID: 30985979 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]