Printing a Wide Gamut of Saturated Structural Colors Using Binary Mixtures, with Applications in Anticounterfeiting

Mario Echeverri, Anvay Patil, Ziying Hu, Matthew D. Shawkey, Nathan C. Gianneschi, Ali Dhinojwala*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Use of colloidal suspensions to generate structural colors has the potential to reduce the use of toxic metals or organic pigments in inkjet printing, coatings, cosmetics, and other applications, and is a promising avenue to create large-scale nanostructures that produce long-lasting colors. However, expanded use of structural colors requires a reduction in coffee-ring effects during printing, which currently requires intricately patterned substrates or high particle concentrations, and diversification of colors to compete with conventional printing inks. Here, we treat substrate surfaces with cold plasma to facilitate spontaneous assembly of particles into colloidal nanostructures, reducing the need for highly concentrated particle suspensions. Moreover, by employing binary mixtures, we can tune the lightness of the hue produced or change the hue itself, allowing us to cover wider regions of color space. We demonstrate the use of this cold-plasma approach on a variety of substrates, favoring substrate diversity on which printing can be performed. This methodology enables creation of high-resolution, complex designs and opens a path for extending the limits of anticounterfeiting applications by using binary mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19882-19889
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 29 2020


  • anticounterfeiting
  • binary mixtures
  • colloids
  • polydopamine
  • self-assembly
  • structural color printing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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