Structural color printing with a dielectric layer coated on a nanotextured metal substrate: Simulation and experiment

Minseok Seo, Heungyeol Lee, Hohyeong Kim, Myeongkyu Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The printing of plasmonic structural colors relies on noble metal nanostructures fabricated on Si, glass, or plastic substrates. This paper presents a simple surface structure for producing vivid structural colors directly from common metal substrates. The structure is formed by texturing the surface of stainless steel (STS) via imprinting and coating it with a dielectric layer. Diverse colors are generated simply by varying the thickness of the dielectric layer. The colors arise from surface plasmon resonance and guided-mode resonance of the incident light, which are excited on the textured STS surface and inside the dielectric layer, respectively. A finite-difference time-domain simulation shows that 500 nm is the optimum texture periodicity with regard to the tunability and vividness of the colors. This is experimentally verified by printing many differently colored images on the surface of STS substrates with a texture period of 500 nm. The proposed structure/method does not require a nanofabrication technique such as electron-beam lithography or focused ion beam etching. The results of the study provide a facile route for producing vivid structural colors on metals, which may find various applications, including surface decoration, product identification, anti-counterfeiting, and perfect absorbers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4090-4098
Number of pages9
JournalNanoscale Advances
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)
  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Chemistry(all)

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