Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences
Tohoku University


Tom Welling

Assistant ProfessorMaterials and Energy

Mentor Information
Daisuke Nagao (Graduate School of Engineering)
Research Fields Nanomaterials Science, Physical Chemistry, Colloidal self-assembly
Research Subjects
  • Colloids
  • Optical materials
  • Electrokinetics
Academic Society Membership  
Research Outline  

Double-inverse-opals, which are structures consisting of (mobile) colloidal particles within the voids of an inverse opal, are exciting, novel materials with potential in switchable optical applications, catalysis, and battery materials. So far, inverse opals have been shown to exhibit complete 3D photonic band gaps1. In order to achieve switchable optics, double-inverse-opals with mobile particles are required, which have not yet been fabricated.

In this research we aim to create these double-inverse-opal structures from several materials, tailored to their application. My main research relates to the interaction of light with double-inverse-opals. By controlling the mobility and position of highly scattering (mobile) particles within the voids of an index-matched inverse opal, the reflection intensity at certain wavelengths of light can be reversibly enhanced. This can be achieved with external fields, such as electric or magnetic fields2-4. In this way, fast-switching reflective color displays or 3D full photonic band gaps for optical computing are achievable. Additionally, double-inverse-opals made of materials such as silicon and carbon, as well as structures including catalytically active materials, could open opportunities for interesting collaboration with battery/catalysis groups.

1.Arval et al., New Journal of Physics 2009, 11, 073011
2.Welling et al., Colloid Interface Sci. 2022, 627, 761
3.Watanabe et al. Langmuir 2017, 33(1), 296
4.Okada et al., Langmuir 2013, 29(28), 9004

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