Polystyrene (PS) colloidal photonic crystals (CPhCs) containing silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) present tunable structural colors. PS CPhC color films containing a high concentration of AgNPs were prepared using self-assembly process through gravitational sedimentation method. High-concentration AgNPs were deposited on the bottom of the substrate and acted as black materials to absorb background and scattering light. Brilliant structural colors were enhanced because of the absorption of incoherent scattering light, and color saturation was increased by the distribution AgNPs on the PS CPhC surfaces. The vivid iridescent structural colors of AgNPs/PS hybrid CPhC films were based on Bragg diffraction and backward scattering absorption using AgNPs. The photonic stop band of PS CPhCs and AgNPs/PS hybrid CPhCs were measured by UV–visible reflection spectrometry and calculated based on the Bragg–Snell law. In addition, the tunable structural colors of AgNPs/PS hybrid CPhC films were evaluated using color measurements according to the Commission International d’Eclairage standard colorimetric system. This paper presents a simple and inexpensive method to produce tunable structural colors for numerous applications, such as textile fabrics, bionic colors, catalysis, and paints.
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