Design of structurally colored surfaces based on scalar diffraction theory

Villads Egede Johansen, Jacob Anders Andkjær, Ole Sigmund

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

342 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper we investigate the possibility of controlling the color and appearance of surfaces simply by modifying the height profile of the surface on a nanoscale level. The applications for such methods are numerous: new design possibilities for high-end products, color engraving on any highly reflective surface, paint-free text and coloration, UV-resistant coloring, etc. In this initial study, the main focus is on finding a systematic way to obtain these results. For now the simulation and optimization is based on a simple scalar diffraction theory model. From the results, several design issues are identified: some colors are harder to optimize for than others, and some can be produced by only a few height levels, whereas others require more complex structures. It is shown that a wide range of results can be obtained. © 2014 Optical Society of America
Original languageEnglish
JournalOptical Society of America. Journal B: Optical Physics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)207-217
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

This paper was published in JOSA B and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.


  • Diffraction gratings
  • Gratings
  • Subwavelength structures
  • Surfaces
  • Color
  • Visual optics, modeling

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Design of structurally colored surfaces based on scalar diffraction theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this