The nanoparticles have been used to increase the sensitivity of arsenic detection by an order of magnitude. Researchers also made a very robust kind of photonic crystal called a plasmonic crystal. While similar to photonic crystals, these new structures are better. Photonic crystals allow some wavelengths of light to pass while filtering out others and are used commercially to coat lenses and mirrors and in optical fibers; they could also be used in optical computers.
Professor Paul V. Braun from the University of Illinois said regarding Yang’s research that one exciting application made possible due to the cheap self-assembly process is the creation of new tunable coatings that change color depending on the spacing between the silver particles. These coatings might serve as camouflage for military vehicles, lens coatings that can vary their transmission, and coatings for more-efficient solar cells. New metamaterials for cloaking and super-resolution imagingare also on the horizon.