Hollow spheres: crucial building blocks for novel nanostructures and nanophotonics
In this review, we summarize the latest developments in research specifically derived from the unique properties of hollow microspheres, in particular, hollow silica spheres with uniform shells. We focus on applications in nanosphere (colloidal) lithography and nanophotonics. The lithography from a layer of hollow spheres can result in nanorings, from a multilayer in unique nano-architecture. In nanophotonics, disordered hollow spheres can result in antireflection coatings, while ordered
... hile ordered colloidal crystals (CCs) of hollow spheres exhibit unique refractive index enhancement upon infiltration, ideal for optical sensing. Furthermore, whispering gallery mode (WGM) inside the shell of hollow spheres has also been demonstrated to enhance light absorption to improve the performance of solar cells. These applications differ from the classical applications of hollow spheres, based only on their low density and large surface area, such as catalysis and chemical sensing. We provide a brief overview of the synthesis and self-assembly approaches of the hollow spheres. We elaborate on their unique optical features leading to defect mode lasing, optomicrofluidics, and the existence of WGMs inside shell for light management. Finally, we provide a perspective on the direction towards which future research relevant to hollow spheres might be directed.