A Modular Design of Continuously Tunable Full Color Plasmonic Pixels with Broken Rotational Symmetry
Color tuning is a fascinating and indispensable property in applications such as advanced display, active camouflaging and information encryption. Thus far, a variety of reconfigurable approaches have been implemented to achieve color change. However, it is still a challenge to enable a continuous color tuning over the entire hue range in a simple, stable and rapid manner without changes in configuration and material properties. Here, we demonstrate an all-optical continuously tunable plasmonic pixel scheme via a modular design approach to realize polarization-controlled full color tuning by breaking the intrinsic symmetry of the unit cell layout. The polarization-controlled full color tunable plasmonic pixels consist of three different types of color modules oriented at an angle of 60° with respect to each other, corresponding to three subtractive primary colors. Without changing the structural properties or surrounding environment, the structural colors can be continuously and precisely tuned across all hues by illuminating linearly polarized light with different polarization directions. Meanwhile, the plasmonic pixels can be flexibly customized for various color tuning processes, such as different initial output colors and color tuning sequences, through the appropriate choice of component modules and the elaborate design of module layouts. Furthermore, we extend the color tuning to achromatic colors, white or black, with the utilization of a single module or the introduction of a black module. The proposed polarization-controlled full color tunable plasmonic pixels hold considerable potential to function as next-generation color pixels integrated with liquid-crystal polarizers.