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Dynamic multimodal holograms of conjugated organogels via dithering mask lithography


Polymeric materials have been used to realize optical systems that, through periodic variations of their structural or optical properties, interact with light-generating holographic signals. Complex holographic systems can also be dynamically controlled through exposure to external stimuli, yet they usually contain only a single type of holographic mode. Here, we report a conjugated organogel that reversibly displays three modes of holograms in a single architecture. Using dithering mask lithography, we realized two-dimensional patterns with varying cross-linking densities on a conjugated polydiacetylene. In protic solvents, the organogel contracts anisotropically to develop optical and structural heterogeneities along the third dimension, displaying holograms in the form of three-dimensional full parallax signals, both in fluorescence and bright-field microscopy imaging. In aprotic solvents, these heterogeneities diminish as organogels expand, recovering the two-dimensional periodicity to display a third hologram mode based on iridescent structural colours. Our study presents a next-generation hologram manufacturing method for multilevel encryption technologies.

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Fig. 1: Architecture and multimodal hologram of responsive conjugated PDA organogels formed via dithering mask lithography.
Fig. 2: Solvent effects on the chain conformation and electronic properties of PDA structures.
Fig. 3: Holographic signals displayed by PDA organogels and estimated from a series of numerical studies.
Fig. 4: Cryptographic systems and flexible applications using PDA organogel microstructures.
Fig. 5: Encryption of PDA organogel matrix with multiple structural colours.

Data availability

All data supporting this study are available within the paper and/or are available from the authors upon reasonable request.


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This study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (NRF-2017M3D9A1073922, NRF-2014R1A5A1009799), the Civil Military Technology Development Project of the Institute of Civil Military Technology Cooperation Center (ICMTC) funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration of Korea (18-CM-SS-13) and the Korea Environment Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) through its Ecological Imitation-based Environmental Pollution Management Technology Development Project and funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) (2019002790007).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



J.O., D.B. and H.H. conducted the majority of the experiments, interpreted data and wrote the manuscript. T.K.L. and D.K. conducted the majority of the theoretical calculations and wrote the manuscript. I.J. participated in the imaging experiments. Y.Y., C.S. and D.K. conducted the photopolymerization analysis. E.M.G. and M.W. conducted theoretical calculations. K.N. measured the structural colour efficiency. M.J. conducted elemental analysis of the investigated chemicals. J.-H.P., S.K.K., J.K. and J.L. interpreted the theoretical data and wrote the manuscript. J.L. conceived the project, interpreted the results and supervised the study. All authors reviewed and approved the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Sang Kyu Kwak, Jungwook Kim or Jiseok Lee.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Peer review information Nature Materials thanks Chenfeng Ke, Yukikazu Takeoka and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Methods, Notes 1–11, Figs. 1–62, Tables 1 and 2 and captions for Supplementary Videos 1–13.

Supplementary Video 1

Reversible volume change of conjugated PDA organogel microstructures upon exposure to ACN and methanol (bright-field).

Supplementary Video 2

Reversible volume change of conjugated PDA organogel microstructures upon exposure to ACN and methanol (fluorescence).

Supplementary Video 3

A shift of 3D-focused light of the organogel patterned with a square dithering mask as the direction of incident light changes slightly. When the direction of incident light changed slightly, the 3D-focused light shifted accordingly with the physical structure remaining stationary.

Supplementary Video 4

Temporal evolution of 3D parallax signal above the physical structure of the organogel patterned with a hexagon dithering mask during the solvent exchange to water.

Supplementary Video 5

Reversible 3D full parallax signals generation of the conjugated PDA organogel microstructures patterned by various dithering masks upon exposure to ACN and methanol (bright-field).

Supplementary Video 6

Reversible 3D full parallax signals generation of the conjugated PDA organogel microstructures patterned by various dithering masks upon exposure to ACN and methanol (fluorescence).

Supplementary Video 7

Reversible cryptographic patterns of dithering mask-patterned conjugated PDA organogel microstructures (bright-field).

Supplementary Video 8

Reversible cryptographic patterns of dithering mask-patterned conjugated PDA organogel microstructures (fluorescence).

Supplementary Video 9

The structural colour change of dithering mask (horizontal and vertical) patterned PDA microstructures array according to the incident light angle.

Supplementary Video 10

Dithering mask-patterned PDA organogel microstructure array exhibiting ‘T’ and ‘S’ upon rotation of incident light angle by 90°.

Supplementary Video 11

Hidden code decryption of the 4 × 4 and 5 × 5 encoded PDA organogels by rotating the samples by 90°.

Supplementary Video 12

Multicolour masterpiece holograms of PDA organogels by changing the focal plane.

Supplementary Video 13

Selective structural colour change of PDA organogels patterned with horizontal and vertical line masks by rotating the portable imaging device.

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Oh, J., Baek, D., Lee, T.K. et al. Dynamic multimodal holograms of conjugated organogels via dithering mask lithography. Nat. Mater. 20, 385–394 (2021).

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