Simulation of self-recovery and diversity of natural photonic crystal (PC) structures remain great challenges for artificial PC materials. Motivated by the dynamic characteristics of PC nanostructures, here, we present a new strategy for the design of hydrogel-based artificial PC materials with reversible interactions in the periodic nanostructures. The dynamic PC hydrogels, derived from self-Assembled microgel colloidal crystals, were tactfully constructed by reversible crosslinking of adjacent microgels in the ordered structure via phenylboronate covalent chemistry. As proof of concept, three types of dynamic colloidal PC hydrogels with different structural colors were prepared. All the hydrogels showed perfect self-healing ability against physical damage. Moreover, dynamic crosslinking within the microgel crystals enabled shear-Thinning injection of the PC hydrogels through a syringe (indicating injectability or printability), followed by rapid recovery of the structural colors. In short, in addition to the great significance in biomimicry of self-healing function of natural PC materials, our work provides a facile strategy for the construction of diversified artificial PC materials for different applications such as chem-/biosensing, counterfeit prevention, optical display, and energy conversion.
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